Author: Dabney Weems
Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season and has made a name for itself as the largest shopping day of the year. Many friends and family shop together to plan a day scoring deals upon deals. But satisfying shopping experiences can quickly turn sour if we’re not careful. Following these tips will help keep you safe however you choose to shop in this holiday season and during a pandemic.
Shopping during COVID-19
Whether shopping in person or picking up items, taking a few extra precautions this year will help keep you, your family and friends safe during the COVID-19 era.
Plan Before Your Trip
- Curbside, contactless pick-up. Many retailers offer curbside pick-up for online shopping. Utilize this feature to minimize contact with others.
- Utilize special hours. Stores also offer special shopping hours for those in COVID-19 high-risk categories. Try shopping at these times, if they apply to you, to reduce your contact in public areas.
Remember the Three Ws
Wear a face covering, wait six feet from other people, and wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer frequently while shopping and bring sanitizing wipes to wipe down your shopping cart.
Hold Your Purse Next to Your Body
Do not let your wallet be an easy target for theft. Keep it close to your body, that way it is more difficult for thieves to take. Purses with zip closures and ones with over-the-shoulder straps are best because a passerby can’t reach into them or quickly take it off your arm/shoulder. If you are not carrying a purse, put your wallet in one of your front pockets. Back pockets are easy targets for pickpockets.
Use One Method of Payment and Avoid Using Cash
Carry one credit or debit card with you on your shopping trip when paying with a card. Carrying a single card means only one card needs to be canceled in the event of a theft and minimizes the opportunity for fraud if your wallet or purse is stolen.
Carrying cash is attractive to thieves because there is no way to track its use once they have it. If you are paying with cash, take it out of your wallet only when the cashier is asking for payment. This avoids you “flaunting” your cash for others to see.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Black Friday is the busiest and most chaotic shopping day of the year. There we will be lots of people out shopping. Be smart and be aware of your surroundings. Make sure to lock your vehicle, and do not leave personal items unattended or out in the open in your vehicle.
Stay Alert in and Around Your Vehicle
There will be more people out on the roads, so drive defensively and be alert for road rage. Park in areas that are well-lit. When returning to your vehicle after shopping, look around and under it before approaching it. Place shopping bags out of sight or in the trunk, if possible.
Only Use Safe Sites for Purchases
Shop on sites that use SSL or secure sockets layer protection. These sites are identified with a URL that starts with https. This means the site has a level of protection that secures your payment information from being compromised when making a purchase.
Shop only through a trusted Wi-Fi connection. Avoid making purchases on public networks because of the risk of being hacked. A secure connection, virtual private network or hotspot will provide security for your payment.
Choose Your Card Wisely
Debit card fraud protections are not as strict as those for credit cards. That means if your payment information is compromised, the fraudulent payment will be immediately drafted from your bank account. Using a credit card will prevent direct loss to your bank account in the event of a fraudulent charge.
See more guidance from DHHS on Black Friday shopping here.