While the masses flock to the malls on Friday, criminals will be zeroing in on their stuff.
KSAT Crime Specialist Eddie Gonzales said the annual shopping bonanza is one of the worst days of the year for crimes like vehicle burglary, identity theft and pick-pocketing.
“Criminals head out when consumers do because it becomes a target-rich environment for them,” said Gonzales.
He said consumers should avoid bringing too many credit cards out with them, and only take them out upon paying, lest prying eyes might steal the card number.
Gonzales also said to have a plan with your children, if the little ones will tag along on the big day.
“You never know when you might get separated in a crowd, so make sure you have a planned meet-up spot in case that happens,” said Gonzales.
Parking lots are also hot spots for crime, as thieves rummage through cars and trucks while their owners are inside.
“Most times car burglars won’t break in unless they see something of value,” said Gonzales. “Make sure nothing is visible in your car, and if you put bags inside and go back in the store, put them in the trunk.”’
Below, you can find ten more tips from the National Crime Prevention Council on how to create a personal safety plan for Black Friday.
Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
Shop online with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you are not familiar with it. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction sites.
Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies if you are using mass transit.
If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.