WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – From fistfights to identity theft. Black Friday shopping brings out quite a few safety risks.

As one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year approaches, State Farm has provided tips on how yourself and your loved ones safe.

Safe shopping in public

  • Keep your purse close to your body or your wallet and phone in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket. Make sure your ringer and/or location are on in case something were to happen.
  • Don’t argue or fight over an item.
  • Don’t take your money out until asked, and don’t flash a lot of cash.
  • Use only one credit card. Data breaches have occurred in the past at major retailers and credit card companies. Should something similar occur, you can reduce the risk of having multiple cards compromised.
  • Save your receipts and monitor your credit card activity by reviewing your bill immediately or periodically checking the online app.
  • Ask for help moving and loading large items if needed.
  • If shopping with children, select a central location to meet in case you are separated. Teach kids how to ask a security guard or employee for help if they’re lost.

Car safety

With the increased amount of drivers on the road due to Thanksgiving travel and Black Friday sales, the chances of encountering aggressive drivers increase as well. State Farm reminds the public not to add to the problem.

  • Remember to drive defensively.
  • Don’t allow road rage to rise. 
  • Parking lots can be dangerous, too, so be on guard.
  • Be patient when looking for a parking space. Don’t speed up to catch that empty (or soon-to-be empty) spot, and be cautious of other drivers who do.
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
  • Don’t leave anything valuable in your car.
  • Lock your vehicle.
  • Make a mental note of where you parked.
  • Have your keys in hand when walking back to your vehicle.
  • Look around and under your vehicle before approaching it.
  • Store shopping bags out of plain sight, in your trunk, if possible.
  • Look for other cars or people, and back out slowly.

Stay safe shopping online

Not only is Black Friday nearly upon us, but so is Cyber Monday, and cyber shopping means cyber scams and identity theft.

  • Stick to retailers you know and, preferably, have shopped with before.
  • Research a business you haven’t purchased from before by checking customer reviews or complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Never commit to a deal that seems too good to be true.
  • Avoid using a debit card since dispute reimbursements may be less than credit cards.
  • Refrain from using public Wi-Fi to make purchases, or use a VPN to avoid hackers intercepting your information.
  • Check a webpage’s security by looking for the lock icon in the URL field and making sure the URL starts with “https”, not just “http”. The “s” means the site is safer and more secure.

The most important tip:
Be kind. Not only to other shoppers but to retail workers as well.