Monday, November 8, 2010

Keeping yourself safe during this Holiday Season

Tis the season to show your family and friends you love them with Maggie McMane Designs Jewelry, Festive Sweaters, Hand Knitted Scarves and baskets of fragrant soap and candles. The amount of money that is given, donated, spent, and stolen jumps as shoppers and thieves mix in crowded places like Holiday Parades, Christmas Tree Lightings, Holiday Shows, Parties, and the Mall. What can you do to prevent someone from taking your hard earned cash during this season? Plenty!

Let’s begin at the beginning, before you shop.

1. Wear the right Purse, one that is made for shopping. Okay, I love my bags, too. Quite frankly, there might even be some hero worship going on with my Burberry, but I leave him home when I’m planning to do some heavy shopping. Why? Because wearing a light weight, over the shoulder bag kept close to your body is less likely to be snatched or pick pocketed than a backpack purse or tote.

2. Get rid of the extras in your wallet. Lighter is easier and easier is better. Do you have four or more credit cards tucked into your wallet but only use one or two? Remove the ones you don’t need and you might save money as well. If someone gets a hold of your wallet, they won’t have all your cards. Trust me when I tell you, filing police and fraud reports is a huge time consuming pain and the last thing you want to do during the holidays!

3. Shop with a buddy. Even if you have to split up for a bit, meeting up for a warm meal and the trip home is safer than eating, shopping and driving alone. It’s true what they say. There is safety in numbers, especially at night. Plus, you might get a hand with all of those bags.

4. Always park your car in a well lit parking lot with security cameras. Take note of where the nearest light is and park as near to it as possible. Remember that darkness comes early this time of year and you don’t want to find yourself over loaded with bags, wandering a dark parking lot—especially alone. Before you get out, hide anything of value and lock your doors. Make sure you actually LOOK in your car when you return because someone could be waiting for you.

5. Always keep your keys in hand when leaving or returning to your car. If you have to get into it quickly, you won’t have to search for them. They can also be used defensively. I can tell you they hurt when someone digs them into your skin. My sister did that to me years ago and I still have the scar!

6. Take a good look at your surroundings. Okay, your girlfriend wants to show you her new Maggie McMane Designs Freshwater Pearls Gold Vermeil Drop Necklace. It’s fabulous, isn’t it? Tell her you’ll check it out under the bright lights of the store ahead. You need to do a visual search of your surroundings. Is there anyone suspicious near? Take a mental note of them and keep walking.

7. Keep your phone on and within reach and pay attention to where you are. If something does happen, you want to be able to call for help immediately with your location. You have a million things to remember like the Godiva Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for good old Aunt Maggie, so take a moment to write your location down on a slip of paper or note it on your smart phone before you shop. “Macys west entrance, 2nd floor, lot B.” It isn’t hard to spot a tired, distracted shopper who can’t find her car. Also, always, always, always take your parking ticket with you. If you leave it in the car your thief can make an easy exit. I'm sure he'll thank you for it.

8. Don’t be a sitting target! When you return to your car, load your bags in the trunk and leave. Yes … leave. So many women sit in their car. What are you waiting for? Put your car in reverse and go because sitting there with all those expensive toys makes you an easy target. Any thief can slip between a row of cars and find you.

Hopefully, you will find this information useful or at least a reminder to be a little more careful. I will do another post on safety in a week. The focus will move from the parking lot to indoors. Feel free to add any additional tips.

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