How we shop the day after Thanksgiving is not what it used to be. Online shopping is taking over and Black Friday 2017 is destined to exemplify that. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for your holiday gift shopping and dealing with Black Friday.
- Some retailers have already begun their Black Friday deals. That’s the glory of eCommerce, isn’t it? Why put off until Cyber Monday what you can begin November 1st? Amazon has a Black Friday Deals Store that is already open for your perusal. Shop via desktop, mobile app, or through any one of the Alexa family of devices, such as Echo. Hey, it’s an Amazon world and we’re all just living in it, right? But it’s not just Amazon who has rolled out the Black Friday deals weeks ahead of the shopping holiday. See which retailers are offering deals now or get a jump start on that gift list by viewing deals ahead of time at BlackFriday.com.
- More retailers are staying closed on Thanksgiving Day. Do you remember a few years ago when all retailers would start their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day? We felt sorry for those poor employees, didn’t we? Well, I guess our outcry on social media regarding such Scrooge-like treatment worked. More and more stores are finally committing to remaining closed on Thanksgiving Day. Click here to see the full list.
- Fraud and identity theft are more prevalent than ever. Whether you shop in-store or online, take every precaution to guard against fraud and identity theft! Neither space is safer than the other. When shopping in-store, consider using cash. However, don’t flash it. Keep your wallet and money secure in an interior zip pocket within your handbag. Always keep your bag on your body and never leave it unattended in a shopping cart or laying on a counter. Don’t be distracted and remain aware of your surroundings. If you insist on paying by credit card, Vice President of Consumer Protection at Experian, Michael Bruemmer, offers this tip: never let the sales associate take your credit card out of sight to swipe. Your card should remain in view at all times. And if you’re paying with a debit card, use your free hand to obscure the keypad screen and keep your PIN private.
Now, when it comes to shopping online, I strongly urge that you use a VPN. Doing so will keep your data secure and masked. Only shop eCommerce stores with a Secure Sockets Layer certificate (SSL). That is online retailers with HTTPS at the beginning of their URL, not just HTTP. If there is no ‘S,’ that means that the site is not secure. Don’t risk it. However, even big corporations with SSL are being breached nowadays (thanks, Equifax). More due diligence is necessary. Track your bank and credit accounts daily. And if you see any purchase that does not look familiar, contact your financial institution immediately.
Still need help? Bruemmer also recommends having someone else also keeping an eye on your accounts. Consider enrolling in an identity theft protection product such as Experian’s IdentityWorks. You will be alerted if there is activity, such as a new account opened in your name as well as if your personal information is found on the Dark Web. Don’t let paranoia ruin your holiday, but always be on the lookout for those damn gremlins.
As the world changes, so do our holidays. Our society is less innocent and more digital, but these alterations shouldn’t hinder or adversely affect our joy. Prepare yourself each year, and you’ll be able to relish the holidays with the same amount of happiness as you have in the past.