Whether online or in the store, stay alert while doing your Holiday shopping.  Shoppers are poised to spread their time and money across both online and physical stores this holiday season, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation. As you grab your mouse or head out to join the crowd, here are some tips to protect yourself and your identity.

shopping-bags
REDUCE YOUR ONLINE SHOPPING RISKS
 Take precautions whenever you shop online, not just during the holidays:
  • Protect your computer by installing the most recent updates for spam filters, anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall security.
  • Take the time to read the retailer’s online privacy policy and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. If one isn’t posted, it may be a red flag that your personal information may be sold or used without your permission.
  • Shop on trustworthy sites. Research the website for the seller’s reputation and record for customer satisfaction.
BE ALERT WHEN YOU’RE OUT AND ABOUT

Unfortunately, criminals sometimes target those who are distracted by holiday shopping tasks. Be aware of your surroundings whenever you’re out shopping. A little extra caution could help keep you and your belongings safe:

  • Never leave valuable items in clear view in your car; put your valuables in the trunk
  • Always lock your vehicle
  • Park in well-lit areas with people around, not in an isolated spot
  • If you carry a purse or satchel, don’t leave your purse in the seat of a shopping cart

Taking a break from shopping to enjoy a cup of coffee or have a bite to eat? Continue to be aware of your surroundings. Think twice before you use an open Wi-Fi network to check your email or use the Internet on your phone. Someone might just be waiting for the opportunity to take advantage.

  • Consider an RFID wallet to protect cards with RFID chips
  • Carry only the cards you know you’ll use
  • Keep records of your credit cards locked away in a safe place in case your wallet is stolen
  • Consider ID theft protection – your independent insurance agent can advise you
CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT CARD?

Very few shoppers pay in cash these days, and checks are becoming as rare as … well, quite rare. Instead, you’re likely shopping with plastic. But did you know that as a consumer you may better protect your rights when you use a credit card instead of a debit card?

AND THE PERFECT GIFT FOR EVERYONE ON THE LIST…

…more plastic! That National Retail Federation survey found that gift cards and certificates are at the top of most people’s wish lists. If you’re buying gift cards for yourself or others, keep in mind they may have an expiration or fees.

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact our agency for coverage advice and policy service.

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Posted 2:00 AM

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