If you plan to brave the crowds and do some holiday shopping on Black Friday, or any other time during this holiday season, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Protect yourself from electronic pickpocketing. The same technology that allows consumers to make convenient purchases with their credit or debit card can also enable a thief to steal information and make purchases on your accounts. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) allows for “contactless payment” for purchasers, forgoing the usual swipe, processing, receipt, and signature for standard electronic transactions. With the right equipment, thieves can access your card information without a direct line of sight from up to 100 meters away, simply by being in your vicinity. Consider purchasing a wallet or sleeve that blocks RFID scanner waves. They are affordable and reliable, and are sold by multiple vendors.
- We all want the lowest price possible on our holiday purchases, but not at the expense of a costly scam. When shopping online, transact business with well-known sites and retailers, and look for an “https” at the beginning of the web address. That “s” means the site uses an encrypted connection, which will help protect your financial information.
- Have you heard the term “porch pirates”? This refers to the unsavory criminals that follow delivery trucks, hoping to snag packages from your front porch before you know they’ve been delivered. If you’re ordering items online, have them shipped to a neighbor who will be home to accept the delivery, or ask the company to hold the package at their delivery center for you to pick up. Request that your package be marked “signature required,” or add special delivery instructions to have the package left out of sight, such as behind a gate or at your back door.
- As always, don’t leave valuables inside your car. Although the trunk of your car may seem like a good place to hide Santa gifts, there are plenty of “Grinches” out there who would love to access your vehicle and help themselves to the treasures tucked away inside.
As we enter into the busy holiday season this week, we wish all of you safe and peaceful celebrations with your loved ones.