Common safety mistakes we make on shopping

Shopping. Image: iStock

Common shopping mistakes to avoid

All shoppers must be vigilant at malls and shopping centres and must be aware that criminals are always looking for opportunities to strike.

Common safety mistakes we make on shopping

Shopping. Image: iStock

Shopping is a fun and relaxing activity for many people, but it can also expose us to some safety risks if we are not careful.

“We are urging all shoppers to be vigilant at malls and shopping centres and to be aware that we criminals are opportunistic and always looking for opportunities to strike,” said Charnel Hattingh, Group head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity Services Group.

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Here are five common mistakes we all make when shopping

  • Letting our phones, music, or conversations divert us. As a result, we risk becoming a target for robbers or con artists and losing awareness of our surroundings and possessions.
  • Not examining the locks or windows to see if our car is locked. This can encourage opportunistic thieves to break into our cars and take our purchases or other valuables.
  • Wearing pricey jewellery or accessories. This can draw unwelcome attention and paint us as a wealthy target for thieves.
  • Excessive cash carrying or the use of risky payment methods. This puts us in danger of losing money or having our card information stolen.
  • Neglecting to close or watch your baggage. We must constantly keep our zippered bags close to us.

How to avoid the mistakes

When in the mall or centre, carry as little as possible in your handbag or pockets and rather leave unnecessary bank or store cards and large amounts of cash at home.

“A packed clothing store or supermarket is the prime hunting ground for a pick-pocket or bag-snatcher. And never leave a handbag, purse or wallet in a trolley. If you don’t use a bag or do not take one along, keep your wallet or purse in the front pocket of your jacket or trousers. Criminals are also targeting phones, so make sure your phone is out of sight either in a zipped-up bag or in a front pocket,” read the statement.

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If you are drawing large amounts of cash, take someone along to keep watch while you are at the ATM and to keep a lookout for any suspicious individuals or vehicles on the way home. If you can avoid drawing large sums of cash, do so. Electronic payments are the safer route.

Your safety outside the mall is just as important as it is inside. Before you exit the mall, have your keys ready so that no time is wasted to get your purchases and yourself into the car. This also means that you’ll be able to hold onto your handbag as you walk. If someone does try to snatch your handbag, let it go. Do not resist or fight back.

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Avoid shopping late at night. While the idea of a quieter shopping mall may seem appealing, you are more vulnerable in the car parks, mall bathrooms and the like. If you have no other choice, be vigilant and report any suspicious individuals to the mall security. Let’s make our shopping experiences happy and crime-free.

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