The Christmas season, rather synonymous with "the shopping-season". We grab the lists, grab the keys, and head to our local department shops to buy gifts for loved ones. But what can be a time of merriment and fun can quickly go south if we become unsuspecting victims.
Here are five quick tips to staying safe and protecting your belongings while hitting the crowded malls and department shopping stores.
1. Situational awareness. Be aware of those around you. Put down your phone, keep an eye on other shoppers, watch your 3 o'clock, 9 o'clock and even your 6 o'clock. (Can you tell I'm the daughter of a pilot?). Don't be so focused on your shopping that you miss the pick-pocket that "accidentally" brushed up against you.
2. Keep your hands on your cart. Admittedly the stores get BUSY and the aisles get crowded but if you have personal belongings in your cart you need to keep control of your cart at all times. If you must leave your cart in the main aisle before walking down a crowded aisle then grab your purse, coat, etc etc. Don't leave them in your cart and out of your vision for others to take.
3. If you can't keep your hands on your cart strap in your purse. I try to follow number 2 but sometimes I just need something three-feet away and there are too many other shoppers. Or I bend down to get something off of the bottom of the shelf and therefore momentarily releasing control of my cart and my belongings. When I arrive at the store and place my purse in my cart I automatically strap it in just like I would a child. This way it can't be grabbed and the perpetrator runs or even casually walks out of the store with my purse, credit cards, money and car keys.
4. Keep your purse zipped. Don't make it easy for a want-to-be pick-pocket to reach in and grab your wallet out of your purse. Don't make it easy for them to grab your phone or your car keys. Keep everything contained and in your control.
5. Don't wave your credit card around for all to see when you are finally checking it out. Pull it out of your wallet only after everything has been rung up, slide it through the reader and then promptly put it away. The bad-guys have eyes. Keep them off of your stuff.
These are five easy steps I take when I'm out shopping, especially in a crowd. How about you? What are some additional ways we can protect ourselves when out shopping this busy shopping season and every other day of the year? I'd love to hear your tips.