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safe-christmas-shoppingBy the time we reach December some are thinking how long they can avoid the hysteria and put off the Christmas shopping for as long as possible but for others the annual ritual is already in full swing. For many this is the most expensive time of the year when they make many larger purchases and equally a high number of smaller purchases for stocking fillers. Amidst all the excitement and Christmas cheer it is possible to lose sight of the fact that the festive season also presents a golden opportunity for criminals.

In recent years, strong policy presence around at Christmas has seen seasonal crime fall in some areas, however there is no room for complacency and imply paying attention to the basics of personal security and safety can help you to avoid being a victim.

1. Never leave your personal belongings unattended, if it is not nailed down someone will steal it!

2. Keep your purse, wallet and mobile phone out of sight in a fastened handbag or pocket. Somewhere that a pickpocket cannot easily access and in your view.

3. Do not stand counting your cash in the street. Check your change and secure your purse or wallet before leaving the sakes counter.

4. Do not walk around using your mobile phone, don’t’ advertise the phone and if you are on the phone you are not fully aware of your surroundings and people around you. Thieves are on the lookout for people whose mind is elsewhere.

5. Use debit cards where possible rather than carrying large amounts of cash around.

6. Do not let your debit card or credit card out of your sight. Ask the merchant to bring the machine to you. If they are offended by this request they will jus have to get over it!

7. Take care when entering your PIN that you are not overlooked, if they have your PIN they will be after your card next!

8. If you use a cheque book, do not keep your cheque book and bank guarantee card together….it’s like writing a cheque to a criminal.

9. Never leave any presents or bags on view in your car. Always keep them locked out of sight in the boot. If you have to return to your vehicle mid-way through your shopping make sure you are not observed placing presents in the boot.

10. It is a good idea to use a “bag for life” or a plain bag for carrying gifts around. A bag from the Apple Store does offer a considerable clue too it’s contents and the probable value in there.

The key is to exercise a reasonable amount of care at all times and think about how you present yourself as an opportunity to potential thieves. Don’t make it easy for them!