Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams reminds upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers to be safe and smart when making their store and online purchases with these simple shopping tips.
“The malls and stores will be crowded on Black Friday, which is why it is important to have a designated rendezvous point in case anyone gets lost or separated. Also, many of us will be shopping at home on Cyber Monday, so please remember to be safe and protect yourself,” said District Attorney Williams. “Watchdog groups like Consumer Reports regularly report that U.S. consumers need to do more to protect their privacy and financial information no matter if they shop in a store or online.”
Here are some easy tips that will help you stay safe on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all year long:
1. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your social security number on your checks.
2. Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs.
3. Shred your old receipts, credit card offers, account statements and expired cards to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
4. Make sure the price you see is the price you pay, check your receipts.
5. Keep your current receipts in a safe place, record your purchases and track your deliveries.
6. Protect your private information when shopping online and make sure you only purchase from reputable retailers. Don’t be tricked into giving out your credit card or financial information for “drawings” or “seasonal promotions.”
7. Watch out for scammers posing as charities; a little investigation makes a difference.
8. Don’t forget to read the company’s privacy and return policies before you make your purchase.
9. Download apps from reputable sources and read user reviews before entering personal and financial information.
10. Be vigilant about where you put your purse, wallet, keys and smartphone.
11. Lock your car doors, even if you will only be gone for a few minutes. Don’t leave money, phone charging cords, bags and expensive items in clear view.
12. Read your bank and credit card statements thoroughly, especially in December and January.
As an additional safety precaution, contact one of the three credit reporting agencies and ask for a fraud alert to be placed on your credit report. You only need to call one agency because all three companies share fraud alert requests.
• Equifax: www.equifax.com or 1-800-525-6285;
• Experian: www.experian.com or 1-888-397-3742; and
• Transunion: www.tuc.com or 1-800-680-7289.