by Lori Riddle

Black friday safety from Fisher Tank'Tis the season for shopping. If you're planning a Black Friday mission, or even if you just need to make a quick trip to your favorite retailer, 'tis also the season for shopping-related crime.

Around here, we're usually talking about tank construction safety, but this week, we've been talking about personal safety during the holiday season. All of us tend to do less-than-smart stuff when we're out in the holiday madness.

Maybe it's the twinkling lights, the festive crowds, or one too many White Chocolate Peppermint Mochas that cause shoppers to lose focus and put themselves at risk, but with a little planning, we can all execute successful, efficient and safe shopping maneuvers. If you fail to plan, your mission will suffer. At best, you'll be inefficient, frustrated and not at all jolly. At worst, you'll be an easy, inviting target for an opportunistic criminal.

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), recommends developing a personal safety and security plan to keep criminals at bay - and to keep you from seeing red this holiday season.

10 Tips For Holiday Shopping Safety From NCPC

  1. Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.

  2. Shop online with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you are not familiar with it. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

  3. Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.

  4. Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise such as onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders at online stores and auction sites.

  5. Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.

  6. Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.

  7. Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.

  8. Do not leave packages visible in your cars. Lock them in the trunk, or if possible, take them directly home.

  9. Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies if you are using mass transit.

  10. If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know they can ask mall personal or store security employees if they need help.

More tips for safer shopping:

  • Plan your routes/stops, but be flexible.

  • If it's dark, or going to get dark while you're shopping, park in a well-lit area.

  • Always be mindful of your surroundings, especially when walking through parking lots or garages.

  • Put your cell phone away when you're walking through parking lots and crowds. Not only can your phone itself be a target for a thief, if you are distracted by your phone, you're a huge target for pick pockets, purse thieves, or worse.

  • Ladies, if you carry a purse, carry one that's got a shoulder strap and zips closed - and make sure it's zipped at all times!

  • If you've got a newly-licensed driver in the family who's just itching to go to the mall or other retail-rich areas, be sure to share all these tips.

We wish you a happy holiday season and safe shopping!

To find more useful shopping tips and personal safety information:

National Crime Prevention Council

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

Cyber Monday Online Shopping Safety Tips


Health & Safety holiday safety personal safety

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