Whether you are completing your holiday shopping online or in store, there are certainly safety concerns you have to keep in mind. From parking lot accidents to credit card fraud, the holiday season is unfortunately rife with risk both intentional and unintentional. In the spirit of the season, and in an effort to promote a safe shopping season for our community, we have put together this list of tips for safe holiday shopping!
Credit Card Safety
Whether shopping online or in store, the news has been full of data breaches and credit card data thefts as of late. You can take steps to protect yourself by doing the following:
• Make sure you are using a Credit Card that protects you. Some credit card issuers have great support in the event that your card number is compromised, and most will not hold you responsible for any fraudulent charges. Check your card agreement, and know how they intend to address situations like this, and if your card doesn't protect you, get a new card.
• Some credit card issuers offer a one-time use card number when shopping online. If your card company does, take advantage of this, as it dramatically reduces the likelihood that you will be affected in the event that the merchant suffers a breach.
• Upgrade to a credit card with a chip (If you haven't already). These newer credit cards offer layers of protection not available on strip cards.
• Monitor your credit card statement for activity that you do not recognize and report questionable charges to your card issuer immediately. Depending on the circumstances of the charge, they can dispute the charge, or even reissue your credit card with a new number!
Tis the season for cold and wintery weather, including ice and snow. Be cautious, even if the roads look fine to you, they may contain unseen hazards such as black ice!
• Make sure your vehicle is properly prepared for winter by putting snow tires on, and putting extra blankets and emergency supplies in the trunk. Hopefully you'll never need them, but in the event you do, you'll be glad that you have those items with you.
• Go slow, take your time, it's better to arrive a little later than planned than to get in an accident.
• Be mindful of deer that may be running, particularly after sundown. Most accidents involving deer occur at this time of year.
• Know when not to go out… Regardless of what you drive, keep in mind that the amount of each tire that at any time is gripping the road is only about the size of your hand. All vehicles will react similarly if they lose grip (By hitting a patch of ice, snow, or water) and no vehicle is immune to these road conditions. If the road conditions are bad, and you can avoid it, just don't go out. There are plenty of nice shopping days before the holidays, and it's not worth getting in an accident over.
• Be alert. While this should always be the case, you should pay particular attention around the holidays, as there are MUCH more people out on the roads, in crosswalks, and walking through parking lots.
Parking Lot Safety
• Watch for cars that may be moving slowly, backing out of parking spaces, or driving diagonally through the lot.
• Be alert when backing out of parking spaces and watch for pedestrians, other cars that may be backing out or waiting for a space, and other vehicles that may be speeding through the lot.
• Post Office parking lots have the highest rate of accidents due to their frequent customer turnover. As such, be particularly careful, and if possible, choose a Post Office with a large parking lot.
• If possible, park away from other cars to avoid dings from other car doors, shopping carts, etc. At night, it is recommended to park in well lit areas that are generally closer to the store.
• If you are leaving the store or mall, and feel unsafe, ask Security to walk you to your car. They are happy to do this for you.
• Always ensure that all windows have been rolled up and the doors and trunk are locked.
• As the gifts you just bought can be very tempting to a criminal, have your keys ready when approaching your car and always check the back seat before getting in.
• Always put all of your shopping bags in the trunk, rather than the front or back seats where they may be visible to thieves. Make sure to place your bags in the trunk as you leave each store, as moving bags to your trunk at your next stop allows people to see that bags are in your unattended vehicle.
• The Holiday Season brings with it a great reminder of the need for proper Automobile and Homeowners Insurance. Take the time to meet with your Insurance Agent to go over your policy and make sure that you are still adequately covered in the event something like an auto accident, or Pipe Break at your home may occur!
At Disaster Blaster, you are important to us. We hope these recommendations lead to a safe and enjoyable shopping season for you and your family. Should you ever have a need for our services at your home, please do not hesitate to Contact Us!
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