10 tips for safe holiday shopping
Whether you are an early online holiday shopper or a 10-minutes-before-the-store-closes kind of shopper, the holidays can be stressful for everyone. And amidst all the hustle and bustle of the gift-giving season, it is easy to let your guard down and become a target for thieves.
Taking the right precautions when shopping in-store and online can help provide peace of mind. Here are 10 holiday shopping safety tips to keep your presents, your money, your identity, and yourself safe this season.
Tips to keep you and your purchases safe when shopping in-store this holiday
1. Keep your money close.
Keep your wallet out of easy reach by carrying it in an inside coat pocket or a front pants pocket. If using a purse, opt for a crossbody style with a secure strap. If you bring your purse into a store, secure it in a cart by looping the child safety straps around the purse handles and keep your purse zippered closed. If you can, utilize a pay app through your phone so you do not have to bring any other items with you.
2. Hang on to your receipts.
Ask the cashier to hand you your receipt directly instead of placing it in the bag. Fold it up and keep it in your wallet or a designated receipt case. This makes it easy to find if you need to return an item or demonstrate proof of purchase. Many stores that utilize loyalty programs sometimes provide the option of having your receipt emailed to you instead of printed. This is a great way to ensure you never lose your receipt and removes the waste from landfills.
3. Do not leave purchases in your vehicle.
Bring your new purchases inside with you as soon as you get home. If you do need to temporarily store presents in your vehicle, keep them in the trunk and ensure shopping bags are out of sight. If there is visibility into the trunk of your car from the outside, consider purchasing a cargo cover. Park your vehicle in a well-lit area and do not forget to lock it!
Tips to help you shop online safely this holiday season
4. Shop with trusted retailers.
Avoid scams by shopping with retailers you know and have ideally shopped with before. If you do not know the retailer, do your research by reading customer reviews and complaints submitted to the Better Business Bureau. And remember if it looks like too good of a deal to be true, it probably is.
5. Never shop on public Wi-Fi.
When you use public or free Wi-Fi, the data transmitted across those signals can easily be compromised. That means using public Wi-Fi to online shop could leave your sensitive information open to anyone. If you do need to shop on the go, disconnect from Wi-Fi and use your 4G or LTE network, or use a VPN for additional security.
6. Make sure sites are secure.
Before clicking “add to cart”, ensure the website you are shopping on is secure. Look for a padlock icon beside the address bar and make sure the URL starts with “https” instead of just “http”. This indicates that the data entered on the website (like your credit card information) is encrypted.
7. Change up your password.
Use a different password for every online account. That way, if a scammer uncovers your password for one account, they will not have easy access to all of them. Use a secure password manager to help you keep track of your account information and opt for two-factor authentication whenever offered for an added layer of security.
General holiday shopping safety tips
8. Opt for credit over debit.
If your card is compromised, it is easier to receive reimbursement for fraudulent charges on credit than it is on debit because there is less personal information attached to it. Many credit cards also offer purchase protection that allows you to submit claims for reimbursement, repair, or replacement if an eligible, newly purchased item is damaged or stolen.
9. Check credit card bills regularly.
Regularly review your credit card statements and purchase activity. Flag any suspicious transactions to your credit card issuer right away so they can investigate and help you receive reimbursement for fraudulent charges.
10. Review your insurance coverage.
Many standard home and comprehensive auto insurance policies provide coverage for items stolen from your home or vehicle. However, policies do have specific limits for specialty items, such as jewelry and watches, gems, furs, bicycles, computer software and more. Take the time at the beginning of the season to assess and review your home and auto insurance policies to know what you are covered for. Also, if gifts are stolen from your vehicle, the claim would be made through your home or tenant policy. Your auto insurance will not compensate you for stolen gifts.
If you have questions about your current insurance coverage, or you are shopping for home or auto insurance and would like to get a quote, connect with an AGR insurance broker at 1-800-668-0250.
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