With just a few days left till Christmas, the race is on to get the shopping done and millions of procrastinators will be packing the malls. While you see a winter wonderland, there’s plenty of danger, too. It comes in the form of thieves, pickpockets and accidents. Stay safe out there and avoid health insurance, car insurance and property insurance claims with these holiday shopping safety tips.
- Car break-ins, particularly in mall lots and parking structures, go up in December. Layer your protection by parking in well-lit areas, using a steering wheel locking device, locking your doors and activating your alarm. Leaving windows slightly rolled down can deactivate some alarm systems, so roll them all the way up.
- If you’re shopping alone, always have your car keys in hand before you leave the store. If you’re the least bit concerned (and you should be), ask a store security guard to walk you to your car. Better yet, take advantage of mall valet services (but be sure to only leave your car ignition key with the valet).
- Mall restrooms are usually hidden away in dark, secluded corridors. Try to find a store restroom, instead, or use the one closest to a crowded area, like the food court or a multiplex. Never let little kids go to public restrooms alone.
- Purses should be carried close to the body, ideally with the shoulder strap across the chest. Wallets should be carried in front pants pocket rather than a rear pocket.
- Protect yourself from scam artists, who tend to work in teams. While you’re helping that nice old lady who drops all her packages in front of you, her accomplice is picking your pocket.
- Avoid withdrawing large amounts of cash from an ATM. Look for an ATM in a well-trafficked area. Have your card at the ready to limit the time you spend at the ATM and always take your receipt with you.
- Take care on escalators. Caution young children to face forward and to hold the handrail. Use the elevator for strollers.
- Over 20,000 kids end up in emergency wards with head injuries, lacerations and fractures every year because they’ve jumped out of or fallen from shopping carts. Strap young children into the cart seat.
Keep in mind those holiday shopping safety tips and enjoy your holiday time.