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Protecting Yourself and Shopping Safely this Holiday Season
Protecting ourselves as we shop for gifts this holiday season doesn’t only mean wearing masks and social distancing — it also means being aware of the fraud risks that come with such a shopping boom. Check out our tips on keeping your information and your wallet safe during the holidays.
Know when and where you plan on shopping for your holiday goodies. This is important, not only in regards to shopping during a pandemic, but also in the way of preventing thieves. Just as our society has innovated in the wake of the pandemic to keep things as virtual and contactless as possible, so has crime.
Did you know that there are contactless skimmers, now? Yep, someone with the right technology can simply walk by you and skim your contactless payment methods. There are services and products (like special lined wallets) out there designed to help prevent these types of wireless skimmers from picking up on your chipped debit cards, but you can also implement some inexpensive DIY tactics. For instance, you can wrap your card in tinfoil when it’s sitting in your wallet. It sounds silly, but it’s a real way to prevent contactless skimming.
Always have a shopping plan laid out so you can be extra prepared and alert when it comes to avoiding thieves, fraudulent activity, and more.
Pay attention to your surroundings as you shop. Especially with social distancing, it’s easy to spot a suspicious character who might be wandering a little too closely. There’s always a spike in theft around the holidays, so be aware of your surroundings and use common sense.
Also remember to lock your car doors, try not to park too far from the entrance of the store, and try to never shop alone. The buddy system is tried and true! Take along someone you’ve been quarantining with this year — this can help deter holiday thieves, who are often opportunistic and prey on inattentive, solo shoppers.
Remember Social Distancing
As always, remember that we are still going through a pandemic. Part of safe holiday shopping is remembering to social distance and wear a mask when you go shopping, especially if you take someone along with you.
Take along hand sanitizer and abide by store policies. Also, pay attention to store hours — many are offering altered hours to allow for less busy holiday shopping (including late night hours). Make sure if you go shopping during these altered hours (particularly late at night), you follow some of our above tips and practice safe, common sense tactics to keep yourself safe.
Shop Online (Safely) When You Can
Don’t forget, 2020 is the year of online shopping. Try to shop online when and where you can. You can even score savings this way; you can easily compare prices between online stores and implement savings apps and extensions to save even more.
If you shop online, make sure to only shop on reputable websites with payment encryptions and money-back guarantees. Holiday theft and fraud can happen online, too, so it’s important that you stay just as vigilant online as you do in stores.