November 17, 2011

Black Friday – How to Stay Safe

Unfortunately, safety is a concern on the biggest shopping day of the year. Even for cyber shoppers who don’t want to venture out, danger lurks in the form of identity theft or scams. Whether it’s the possibility of getting crushed in the crowd or getting your identity stolen, Black Friday does present certain hazards.

Here are some tips on how to stay safe on Black Friday.

Secure Websites

When shopping online, only purchase from secure websites. Specifically, look at the web address – if it starts with “https” that indicates that it’s safe. If it starts with just “http,” it’s not a secure site. Also, most browsers have a “lock” icon at the bottom of the screen in the tray; the presence of the lock icon means it’s a secure site. I limit my online shopping to tried-and-true sites, like Amazon.

Don’t Click

Know when not to click on ads, deals, and links. If you received an email from an unknown retailer, for example, telling you to click on a link in the email, don’t do it. Do an Internet search for the company and/or ad before clicking.


If you’re going to the brick-and-mortar stores, some say it’s a good idea to use cash to pay for your purchases. Cash can’t be traced and it doesn’t contain your personal information like checks and credit cards do. However, cash is not easily recovered if stolen. Weigh the risks and decide which method of payment will work for you and be safest. No matter what you choose, make sure you know where your wallet is at all times.

Shop in a Group

Not only is it more fun, but a group of shoppers can watch out for each other. Make sure your cell phones are charged and turned on. Shopping in a group means someone can hold your place in line, or go get something you forgot while you wait in line. This avoids tussles and arguments among waiting shoppers, keeping everyone safer.

Be Courteous

While Black Friday is exciting and it’s almost a rush to get a great deal, remember that no deal is worth someone’s safety or life. Don’t push or get impatient in line; it may start something much bigger than you can’t control! If things seem to be heating up – say you are going for an item that another person is grabbing at the same time – then don’t be afraid to let it go. It’s only a few dollars, and it’s not worth a fight or worse.

Lock Your Car

Keep your car doors locked when you go in to shop. As purchases accumulate, it’s recommended that shoppers put items in the trunk. If they are clearly visible in the seat or floor of the car, it may tempt someone to break in.

Keep a Healthy Perspective

Remember, Black Friday is supposed to be fun. Shopping for great deals and making a day of it are traditional in some families; it’s meant to be enjoyed.

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Alexis Rodrigo