10:56 AM EST, December 5, 2012
The shopping season is in full swing, but buyers beware. There are crooks everywhere—at the register, in the food court, or in the parking lot. Someone could be waiting to pounce.
There are common mistakes we all make while shopping during the holiday season, but one safety expert showed INSIDE EDITION the best way to stay safe.
INSIDE EDITION's Victoria Recaño went with Kathleen Baty from safetychick.com to the posh Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles.
Tip number one: Park close to the entrance and use your cell phone to take a picture of the space so you know where you parked.
“So that was a great spot because it's right here at the entrance,” said Recaño.
“Exactly, and something to consider is that a lot of times you come to the mall late in the afternoon and when you come out its dark,” said Baty.
Once inside, you're safe, right?
Wrong. There could be an identity thief right behind you.
Tip number two: Cover your credit card when you hand it to the clerk to avoid "shoulder surfers."
“All it would take is somebody to stand behind you and pretend they're talking on their phone or texting on their phone and taking a picture. Now, I have your home address, your name, your credit card numbers, and pretty much next week I’m going to have all new credit cards in your name,” said Baty.
“After a long day of shopping, everybody needs a break,” said Recaño.
“You got that right,” said Baty.
“But what I didn't get right is where I put my packages,” said Recaño.
“Ok, now you've made one of the biggest mistakes shoppers make in a food court. You've left all your packages behind you where you can't see them, and your purse hanging on the back of your chair,” said Baty.
Tip number three: Put your bags under the table at your feet and place your purse on your lap.
“Now remember as you're going back to your car three things: be aware of your surroundings, who's in front of you, who's behind you; hands free, keys ready; and remember where you parked,” said Baty.
“That should be easy since we took a photo,” said Recaño.
“So, what you want to do as you approach your car is to look around it to make sure no one is hiding in front or behind or underneath. As you get to the car, open your trunk, make sure to put your packages in your trunk. Don't leave them in the back of the car to avoid a smash and grab," said Baty.
Just follow these easy tips to make your holiday shopping safe and keep the crooks from grabbing your gifts.