Black Friday is when millions of Americans buy the things they wanted all year at incredibly low prices. However, each year there are incidents that make shoppers wonder if it’s worth the cost. In the past, people have been injured, even killed, fighting over rare bargains.
It’s important to remember that some shoppers come armed with pepper spray and even guns. Although these deadly incidents are (fortunately) rare, getting caught in a stampede or losing your friends and family members happens all the time.
Also, thieves of all shapes and sizes come out of the woodwork on Black Friday, hoping for the opportunity to pickpocket or steal items from cars in unlit parking lots. It’s important to be insured with renters or homeowners insurance when you go shopping this year because the off-premises portion of your policy is the only type of insurance that will reimburse you if your bargain finds are stolen out of your car or right out of your hands!
Here are the top 26 tips to keep in mind when you go shopping on Black Friday 2022:
- Keep gifts out of sight in your parked car if you’re store-hopping.
- Park near the store, and in a well-lit area if it’s evening time.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings, which can include pickpockets.
- Don’t distract yourself with your phone.
- Avoid carrying cash or large amounts of it.
- Don’t leave your handbag unattended or in a cart.
- Don’t leave your cart unattended or you may lose the items you’re trying to buy.
- Carry your bags close to your body.
- Avoid shops that create a potential for a stampede by giving free gifts or coupons to the first shoppers to get in.
- Be careful to keep children close, especially in crowded shopping areas.
- Have a cell phone handy and make sure those you’re shopping with have a cell phone, in case you get separated.
- Teach children to go to the security guard or police officer if they lose you.
- Drive carefully, as there will be many distracted drivers on the road.
- If you are store hopping, make sure your purchases are not visible to passersby. Keep them in the trunk or shove them under the seats if possible.
- If it’s snowing or raining, be careful not to trip and fall on slippery floors.
- Don’t rush to keep up with crowds.
- In the past, there have been instances of pepper spraying inside stores. If you get caught in a downwind of it, don’t panic. Simply wash out your eyes with cool water. You should be fine in half an hour.
- If possible, keep COVID distancing and take masking precautions.
- Only shop in well-lit stores with security guards.
- Keep your wallet safe (not in your back pocket).
- If possible, bring a single credit card and leave your wallet at home.
- Avoid shopping alone. There is always safety in numbers.
- If caught in a crowd, try to find a wall and stand against it until the rush dies down.
- Avoid ATMs, as they are often targets of thieves on Black Friday.
- Don’t fight over items for sale. It’s simply not worth it! People have gotten pepper-sprayed and shot in past years. Keep this year a safe one!
- Keep all of your receipts. If you are robbed of your purchases, you may be covered and reimbursed by your renters or homeowners insurance policy.
10 Cyber Monday Safety Tips
Online scams abound on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is also a great day to save on merchandise. Many people are shopping online, and the Internet is ripe with fraudulent retailers looking to cash in on the holiday season. There’s nothing worse than paying for something that never arrives! Here are some ways to avoid getting ripped off:
- Shop with well-known retailers only.
- Be on the lookout for fake storefronts online and avoid them by going directly to reputable retailers.
- Shop on secure websites only. A secure site’s URL should start with HTTPS and not HTTP. An eCommerce website with an SSL certificate and TLS technology ensures that your data is only shared between you and the website.
- When creating an account with a retailer, use strong passwords. Avoid common names and birthdays, etc., and use a password manager.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card, which has fewer protections once your money leaves the account.
- Don’t save your credit card information on the site.
- Look into buying a virtual card for shopping online. These are one-time use cards that are linked to your real cards but expire quickly, sometimes after one use.
- Avoid shopping on public wifi.
- Keep an eye on your credit card accounts to make sure you were only billed for intended purchases.
- Consider paying through secure payment providers like PayPal.
*Note: Unlike theft when shopping in person, most homeowners insurance policies do NOT cover cyber fraud. You are, however, covered if your package is stolen after delivery, though you would have to pay a deductible first.
- Shop in groups and carry cell phones in case you’re separated.
- Avoid fighting over merchandise. It’s not worth the fallout!
- Be wary of pickpockets and thieves who may steal items out of your car.
- Keep children, wallets, and purses close to your body and only bring a single credit card in case you are robbed.
- Make sure you have renters or homeowners insurance, in case your purchases get stolen in a shop or parking lot.
Be prepared to protect yourself if you go shopping on Black Friday. Or, wait until Cyber Monday to shop online or in stores, when crowds are thinner. Either way, it’s important to have home insurance, not only in case you’re robbed, but to protect your most expensive asset of all, your home sweet home! Also, home insurance will cover your losses if packages are stolen from your porch. To make sure you’re getting the best price for home insurance, bundle it with an auto insurance policy for up to 25% less than buying each separately.
Start with a free car insurance quote and ask the agent if you’re eligible for a big discount for adding on a home policy. Happy shopping!