Happy Black Friday, everyone! Some will go out shopping to stores today, so if you do, keep up your awareness. There may be a lot of persons out even though the COVID-19 restrictions are up. Make sure that you protect yourself against the biggest enemy, corona-virus!
- Always wear a mask.
- Always maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet.
- Always pay attention to cues, floor place-mats and/or one-way indicators.
- Use hand sanitizers, and make sure that you bring your own. Wash your hands as much as possible, especially when eating.
- Avoid persons who are not wearing masks or appear to not care.
- Avoid exposure to surfaces as much as possible.
Also letting your guard down can be trouble. Criminals and businesses are still out there looking for innocent victims. Also this year, while people are at safer and longer distances away, people are wearing masks so it is harder for you and/or cameras to identify individuals that may commit crimes. Here’s a list of crimes that you will not want to become apart of while out there trying to enjoy your great shopping day, today, or any other shopping day.
- Don’t bring out a sizeable amount of cash. Nothing is worse than exposing a wad of cash out in public! It is safer to pay by credit card, gift card or debit card, or limit exposure of cash.
- At all times, keep your eye on your wallet, purse and other items like your phone, keys and other valuables.
- Even though it is more unlikely to happen given social distancing, if your are bumped into or someone makes you bend down or get in any awkward position, you may be a target for pick-pocketing. If this does happen, note location of all your valuables immediately.
- Do not keep a large sum of money or other valuables in your car while unattended in case of a break in while shopping.
- Don’t let your guard down for flim-flam techniques. Confidence is one of the oldest tricks up any criminal’s sleeve. These persons often work in teams, one dropping bait, and another claiming they found it at the same time that you see this newly “found” money. Anyone who comes up to you with the promise to match an amount of money that you all of a sudden find, and setting up a fund whereby you are going to an ATM, your bank or other–in order to match a found amount as a “trust” is getting you involved with a con job! Don’t be taken by this really old trick. Once you give these persons your money, you will probable never see anyone again, and they dispatch very soon after the take. Remember NEVER go to an ATM with someone you have never met, for any reason! It is always too good to be true, and it is better to be safe than sorry!!
- Always do business with a store you are already familiar with so your guard is not down by looking “lost”. Criminals pick up very easy on the cue of looking “lost”.
- Also do business with stores you are familiar with, because even though it is a minority, sometimes there are actually business trying to over-capitalize on you–trying to steer you into getting needless upgrades, extra amounts of product, or sell you low quality goods. You are better off doing business with a store you are already familiar shopping in on such a busy day as Black Friday. Businesses should NOT change their store rules and policies including couponing for just one shopping day. Any businesses doing such tactics should be reported to the authorities for gouging, as this often happens most on busy shopping days in the holiday season just like they do when a disaster happens, because your guard is down trying to hit as many stores as possible, and the lines often distract your attention as well.
- If you encounter any request to do business at a store in a method that you do not feel comfortable to use, especially if the store clerk wants you to obtain gift cards from a store that is NOT for the store you are shopping, walk away without doing business.
- If it is possible to take an eating break due to current circumstances, always keep your eye out when breaking, eating, going into restaurants, etc. Never leave your bags unattended, and if bags are found unattended for an extended amount of time, call police. It could be a con-job with merchandise instead of cash, or who knows. Let the police deal with it.
- If you are robbed, never try to apprehend criminals yourself. ALWAYS call police! You can get yourself in more trouble than it is worth. Try to keep in public as much as possible. The less people there are around, the more you are a target. When trouble lurks, cameras help but often too late to really do anything about it, and with masks, it will be more limited. Keep exposure to your valuables to a minimum. Do your shopping in this order: do your least valuable shopping first then do your MOST valuable shopping later–then leave the scene. Don’t do very expensive shopping and go walking around with more valuable items all day long, because the valuable merchandise is exposed a longer amount of time. Try to shop close to home and drop off valuable merchandise and venture back out, but make sure that you are not tailgated home either. You certainly don’t want to have a stray burglar find your home as a target.
The COVID-19 era is not an easy era! But if you venture out to shop, don’t forget to try to have some fun!! But make sure the day is safe. Happy Black Friday and have some great shopping! If you opt to go online here are some pointers:
- Always initiate the call, go to a reputable website directly from a online search. It is okay to have a Chrome extension or other browser extensions assist you in saving money, as long as you do investigating before using it as to the status of the company providing you with couponing, rebates or perks.
- Don’t ever do business with a solicitor. If you did not call, don’t think the call will help.
- Don’t let a caller scare you into losing out due to something expiring, to save you dollars, or any other tactic. Time loss can be used in a criminal’s favor against you as cues to save money can shift you into being vulnerable.
- If someone or a business is claiming that they have a deal that is going to be “the easy way” or sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t worth the words expressed. Nothing comes easy!
- NEVER enter your passwords via an email, text, phone call or other communication, unless YOU initiated the attempt to login, and the site is trustworthy.
- Don’t respond to emails from suspicious destinations. Always use emails from reputable stores, shops, known bloggers, and from personal recommendations or good online reviews at a reputable internet rating site.
- Never give vulnerable information over the internet unless the 🔒 symbol is in the browser bar. Also make sure that the internet destination is “https://???.com” NOT “http://???.com“. The “s” which is the 5th letter on the browser bar stands for “secured“. If you do not see this, cease doing a transaction at that site as it is not safe divulging information as the hypertext needs to be secured through encryption or anyone can see your personal information being transferred over the internet, including on a router system near where your Wi-Fi is hooked.
- Make sure that you always use a secured and private connection, not a “public” or common connection when it comes to the Wi-Fi you are using. Your cell phone is secured and encrypted while using a carrier for the transaction, but if the Wi-Fi is activated, you must make sure that it is in the “OFF” position, unless you are at your home or on Wi-Fi that belongs to someone that you know to be trustworthy. Doing a transaction on a workplace’s Wi-Fi can be sketchy and your security can be compromised unless your workplace is self-employment.
- If you encounter any request to do business in a method that you do not feel comfortable to use, especially if a store wants you to obtain gift cards from a store that is NOT for the store you are shopping, hang up or cease the transaction immediately. Make sure that in any transaction you get screenshots, reference numbers or other identifying factors while completing your transaction.
- Never complete a transaction if the price that is in the cart does not match the price that started on the shopping page that put the item in your cart. If you plan on going back to the same store in the future, make sure you empty the cart, or the item could stay in the cart and be ordered by accident on a future date.
If you are party to being a victim on Black Friday, Cyber-Monday or any other shopping day, you can contact the following agencies:
- Your local police station if you are at any monetary loss online. If you use a credit card, you will need a report number to have any recourse to issue a claim, because they will need a police report number in order to initiate a claim.
- The Federal Trade Commission at FTC Complaint Assistant.
- Your state or local consumer protection agencies. Visit for a list of state Attorneys General.
- If you believe you have been scammed, and you don’t know who to call, the LIST: Who’s My Attorney General? or NAAG for a directory state-by-state and also other pertinent information of who you will need to get in touch with after you have been scammed.
- For online crimes involving cash, counterfeit checks and money orders, file an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center which is a joint project of both the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center.
Enjoy your holiday shopping season. Always keep your guard up, but have a wonderful experience, whether it is by going out to the store, or a great online experience. Happy Black Friday and Cyber-Monday!