Read and Heed – Tips on staying safe while Holiday shopping!

We at Your Everything Services wanted to give you some tips on staying safe while out and about during this Holiday season, so let’s get right to the point!

There is a rash of purse snatching at gas stations across the country!  What is happening is you’re outside pumping gas; a person walks or drives up, opens either the front passenger door or the driver-side door, grabs your purse and takes off.  In an instant your purse is gone before you realize what happened.  While pumping gas, KEEP YOUR CAR LOCKED!!!! Yes, it’s inconvenient, but it’s a LOT more convenient than being robbed!!! 

Another type of robbery going on in is while you’re walking in the parking lot to and from the store, a vehicle drives VERY CLOSE to you; a person snatches your purse and speeds off. Again, gone in an instant before you realize what has happened! 

If you must take a purse out shopping, keep the bare minimum in it and expect it to be stolen. Do not keep large amounts of cash, even if it is just a wad of dollar bills, in sight. The better and safe tip to do is use a low-limit (no more than $250) credit card.  With capital letters in a Sharpie on the back stating “CHECK ID”!  That way, if stolen or lost, it could deter someone from using it of course.  It wouldn’t hurt to call your credit card company to set up “road blocks” as well. Such as, if the card is maxed, or a single purchase is over $100, the purchase is denied and a red flag goes up. (Some companies automatically approve the purchase and penalize you later.) Take the extra precaution and have it set at blocking any and all purchases above $100 or $250, or whatever you feel fits your situation.  The credit card company will automatically call you to confirm it is indeed you.

Another tip; don’t keep your credit card and drivers license together.  Keep your driver’s license locked in the trunk or in another safe and secure place. 

Smash-n-grab is also very popular. Thieves are smashing car windows, grabbing what they can – typically cell phones, radios, GPS units, radar detectors, purses, bags – anything out in the open – and taking off. Put your purchases in the trunk or out of sight, covered with a grungy towel or blanket. Make your vehicle look like there’s nothing valuable in it.  

While walking to and from places, keep your keys THROUGH your fingers – ready to stab some attacker in the eye if necessary. Walk BRISKLY – no dawdling – and LOOK like you mean business. DO NOT YAK on the cell phone! Keep your head UP, your eyes OPEN and LISTEN!!! Be very aware of your surroundings. If you notice a car parked right next to yours with a person or two in it and they’re not moving, keep walking and watching. Most places have security that will walk you to your car – take advantage of the opportunity! Make sure to park in a well-lit area and purposefully park AWAY from other vehicles under a light. That way, you can see from a distance if a vehicle is parked right next to yours with people in it.  

Be careful and on your toes regarding “helping” a single man in a car, especially if he appears handicapped. This has been a particular nasty way for men to lure women in their vehicles. Not all came back alive. If you hear or notice a guy calling for help, either call 911 or run to the store to get help. Do not under any circumstances assist the person.

Reminder; if you get pulled over, especially if you’re not doing anything glaringly wrong, are within about 5 miles per hour over the speed limit, not talking on the cell phone (several areas that have passed bans on cell phone talking AND driving-even with a “hands-free”, so check your local area for those laws and regulations), feel free to contact the police district they claim to represent.  Keep a phone book in your car, unless you have the capability to search for numbers on your phone.  Make sure you continue to drive to a well-lit and very public place.  A REAL police officer will understand that you’re checking their credentials – pay attention to their reaction.

Another tip; LOCK YOUR DOORS as soon as you get into the car!  Make it a habit!  It is crucial for your safety and well-being.  There were a series of muggings and robberies targeted to women who would sit in their cars after shopping and update their checkbook, receipts, check lists and mark off items completed, check to see what the next errand is, etc.   

With the worsening economy, robberies are going to increase. Be prepared and take the extra steps to protect yourself.  Your life is important and valuable!

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