Who doesn’t love scoring great deals on Black Friday? But, while Black Friday Shopping may be a tradition (or at least a fun time) in your household, it’s important to remember that safety, not saving money, should be your top priority. Below, we’ve outlined tips for staying safe and secure while you shop online and in-store for Black Friday sales.
5 In-Store Black Friday Shopping Safety Tips
Know Your Store Hours
Safety starts with situational awareness. No one wants to show up outside a store at 4:00 am only to find out the store is closed. Not only is it annoying (Who wants to wake up at 4 for no good reason?), but it can put you in a risky situation.
Likewise, you don’t want to be one of the last customers to leave the store with a cart full of goodies. Before you make your shopping plan, check the store hours online or on their social media pages so that you don’t show up too early and end up waiting outside in the cold before they open.
Hide Valuables and Park in Well-Lit Areas
Be sure to park in a well-lit area, perhaps underneath or near a parking lot light pole. And if you’re walking to or from your car when it’s dark out, be sure to pay attention to your surroundings. Try not to be glued to your phone as you’re walking to the car, instead pay attention to who’s around you. If you’re ever uncomfortable walking to your car, ask a friend to walk with you or even a store security guard.
Before you head into the store, make sure you keep any valuables out of plain sight. If someone is scouring the parking lot for a car to break into, you don’t want AirPods left in the center console, cash laying out, or your shopping bags in the front seat. Make sure everything is well hidden to make your car a less likely target.
Consider Leaving Children At Home
Unfortunately, other shoppers will be out on Black Friday, and they may not be looking out for your children like you do. If you’re able, leave your kids home so as not to risk your child getting lost or hurt while shopping.
Map Out Your Store Layout
The last thing you want is to be stuck in a crowd in the middle of the store when an emergency breaks out. If something were to happen, you need to spend your precious energy moving as quickly as possible to a known exit – not trying to figure out how to leave the store.
If you need to shop at multiple stores, make sure to plan an escape route before you go so that you can move as efficiently as possible through the crowds.
Keep an Eye On Your Belongings
When shopping in big crowds, it’s easy to lose track of your belongings or accidentally leave them behind. Be sure to keep an eye on your purse and any other bags you’re carrying so they can’t be easily stolen.
Also, consider limiting what you’re bringing with you into a store. The less critical items (credit cards, jewelry, passports, IDs, etc), you bring shopping with you, the less of a negative impact you’ll have on your life were something to happen.
4 Online Safety Tips for Black Friday
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
When you’re out on Black Friday, it may be tempting to squeeze in some quick online shopping while waiting in line for that peppermint mocha. However, you should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to browse or shop online. Often, these networks are not secure and can leave your information vulnerable to hackers.
Keep Your Computer’s Security Software up to Date
An easy way to increase your at-home cybersecurity is to ensure that your computer has the latest security software installed and is running properly. Many cybercriminals will try to gain access to your information by exploiting outdated software, so make sure you keep everything updated for a smooth, safe shopping experience.
Shop from Reputable Retailers
While many great deals are available on Black Friday, scammers will often try to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers by offering fake products or discounts. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Only purchase from reputable, encrypted websites. Look for certification seals, customer reviews, and legitimate corporate office addresses before checking out. This will help keep your payment information safe and give you peace of mind if you have to work through customer support issues.
Use Secure Passwords and Policies
For many of us, shopping online means creating and logging into accounts with different retailers (How else are we going to earn those loyalty points?). As a best practice, make sure that all of your online accounts have strong, unique passwords with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
And remember to change these passwords regularly. Consider using a password management tool to help you keep track of your passwords.
With these safety tips in mind, you can safely and happily get your holiday shopping done while enjoying the Black Friday festivities! Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, make sure you take the necessary precautions to have a positive experience and protect yourself against potential scams.
And if you’re looking for ways to help keep your holiday gifts safe and secure after they arrive at your home, we can help. As one of the largest security companies in the US, CPI has the equipment and expertise you can count on all year long. Learn more about how you can get a CPI home security system here.