Holiday shopping is kicking into high gear, with sales taking place even before "Black Friday," But while you browse for deals, you need to be aware of thieves looking to take advantage of preoccupied shoppers, especially women. Maura Barclay, self defense expert and author of UNBREAKABLE WOMAN: COMPASSIONATE SELF DEFENSE AND EMPOWERMENT, joined Margaret to share some simple safety tips while out shopping, as well as how to keep your home from becoming a tempting target after the holidays or a large purchase.
Here's a link to Maura's first segment on New Day Northwest, where she shared great tips to keep yourself from becoming a victim to muggers and other criminals.
Here are the tips Maura shared today:
Stash Your Cash - someone steals your credit card, you can cancel the card and refund unauthorized transactions. Someone steals your cash, your tree could be present-free on Christmas day. Avoid carrying too much cash on you. If you must, keep bills tucked away from your purse or wallet. If confronted, hand over a purse filled with a little cash and cards you can easily cancel. Keep the majority of your cash and ID tucked away.
Bring backup - If you're buying loads of holiday gifts or groceries, don't walk back to your car alone. Shop with friends or ask for help when you check out. The customer service kiosks at most malls can provide an escort to your car.
Scan, load, scan - If you are walking to your car alone or with your children, stay off your cell phone and stay aware. Scan the parking lot to let opportunists know they won't be surprising you. As you load your trunk, don't turn your back for too long. Take a moment to re-scan again and ensure your safety.
Reduce your curb appeal - Just like food scraps in your trash can attract raccoons, empty Flat Screen TV, wii and playstation boxes next to your recycle bin can attract criminals into your home. Break down those boxes and turn them inside out before placing them in the bin. Space it out so not all the boxes go out the same week. This reduces your chance of theft and potential assault if confronted by burglars.
Patch security holes - if your home has been robbed, don't replace anything until you have fixed the security problem. Once a criminal has figured out how to get in, they know how long insurance takes to replace everything and they may be watching your recycle bin for confirmation.
Keep a low profile online - TMI on social media can bring a TON of bad tidings. Post vacation pictures after you come home and don't flaunt your new gadgets online -- invite friends over to enjoy them in person.