Your Security on Black Friday & Cyber Monday
It’s Black Friday, dawn, mere steps from the electronics store entrance a long yet unassorted line of shivering shoppers stand in anxious anticipation. The tension is palpable as the eager patrons, young and old, brace for capitalistic battle.
The doors open and a man in the front of the line yells:
“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!”
The mad crowd rushes inside grabbing, shoving, punching, kicking, biting, hacking, burning... okay maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration, or maybe not. While it’s true Black Friday has lost some of its luster since the 1980’s, and although you don’t see parents aren’t climbing over each other to get the latest toy, it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Because while you are shopping for gifts this weekend, others are shopping for your information. In this blog we hope to give you some insight as well as a few tips to shop safely this holiday season.
Here is a true story. Thanksgiving morning 2022, I received a security alert message on my phone. The message read, my debit card had been declined because the date was not entered correctly. The thing is, I hadn’t used my debit card at all. So I stopped everything, called the bank and had them cancel my current card and mail me a new one. The reality is that many people are victims of fraud and don’t even know it. Even though there are cases of fraud where victims lose a good portion of their life savings, the common tactic these days with scam-artists and extortionists is to remain unseen. Sort of like a symbiotic relationship with a parasite. A small purchase here and there may go completely unnoticed for months or even years costing you hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your personal protection and prevent fraud from happening.
TIPS FOR SHOPPING SAFELY:
(1) Always lock your car door before entering a store. If you have any papers with information like addresses, emails, phone numbers, etc. put them in the glove box or the trunk. Scam artists don’t need to break into your car to get your info, they just need to take a good picture. Also don’t have valuables lying around on or under your car seats.
(2) Never leave your wallet or purse unattended in your shopping cart. Again a pic of your debit card, credit card or ID card is enough to get the ball rolling in their favor.
(3) Shop in groups. Having some extra eyes on your side can help keep fraud artists at bay.
(4) While you’re out there is always the possibility that something bad might happen. Therefore, it’s best to consider shopping at stores that hire good security services. Not all security companies employ the best and not all security cameras are security cameras. In fact some stores don’t hire security at all and use dark glass domes as a deterrent, but they have no cameras behind them.
(5) Avoid confrontations with the Karen’s of the world. If an individual attempts to claim the TV in your shopping cart insisting, it’s theirs when it’s clearly not. Ask them to present a receipt or some proof of purchase. If they cannot produce a valid receipt, then head to the check out register and ignore them. If they get physical, take a step back, use basic self-defense, then call the police and get their license plate. Let the Karens spend the holidays in jail over some foolishness. You’ll be at home with your feet up enjoying your new TV.
Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, is best described as the online Black Friday. It’s hard to shake the nagging feeling that Black Friday’s days might be numbered due to the ease and convenience of online shopping. Sometimes when I want to buy something I ask myself a simple question: Do I want it cheap, or do I want it now?
These days we see people cast their eagerness aside as they take a large sip of patients while waiting for the delivery truck to arrive. However, as they wait, they don’t realize that their information is being shared with third parties who might not have their best interests in mind. Many of us have become numb to online fraud and accepted that there are risks to shopping online.
Tips for Online Safe Shopping:
(1) When online, less is more. Never, under any circumstances, give your personal information to an individual or website you don’t trust. Especially if they have the one thing you desperately want at a ridiculously cheap price.
(2) Avoid sketchy emails. No doubt by now you’ve received a torrent of emails from stores inviting you to share in the savings on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Bottom line, if you don’t trust the email send it to the junk folder or delete it.
(3) Shop closest to the manufacturer. No, not literally or physically. I mean shops so the smallest number of people are involved with your purchase. Buying from stores who get their products straight from the manufacturer is better than buying it third party from a person named @scammaster_8973.
(4) Eyes Peeled, even after the big day! Keep a close eye on your accounts in the days following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If your bank offers a fraud alert system that you can set up on your phone it would behoove you to do so.
In closing we at Guardian Protection Force would like to remind you of two very important facts. During this great weekend of capitalism be sure to help out the little guy. The mom-and-pop businesses that line our main streets and street corners need your help too. Buy the big but help the small. Lastly, remember the reason for the season, give what you can to who you can. Don’t forget Cyber Monday is followed by Giving Tuesday.
Sacramento Sheriffs is hosting the Toy Project
and any GPF officer that participates will be given rewards tickets.
“Everybody knows about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Now help me spread the word about Giving Tuesday.”
– Bill Gates