Black Friday, the day after
Thanksgiving, is the
unofficial start of
the holiday season
is the biggest day
….and one of the biggest days for criminals!
The term "Black Friday"
indicates the point at
which retailers begin to
turn a profit, or are "in
On this day, most major
extremely early, often at
4 a.m., or earlier, and
offer promotional sales
to kick off the shopping
Black Friday 2011 sales totaled
$52.4 billion. The National Retail
Federation reported that 138
million shoppers will headed out
to the stores on Black Friday.
Black Friday shopping
has become, for many
a holiday tradition.
criminals do not see
Black Friday as a way
to fill their Christmas Stockings;
they see an opportunity to
The holiday season is a
time when busy people
can become stressed
and vulnerable to theft
and other holiday
Black Friday Crime Challenges:
• Mob Violence
• Crowd Trampling
• Picket Pockets
• From Vehicle
• ID Theft
Crime Prevention Strategies
The following crime prevention strategies will
help minimize the chances of you being a
“Black Friday” crime victim:
Always be aware of your surroundings !
• Stay alert to your surroundings at all times. Observe
people and activities around you. Look confident
and purposeful. Even though you are rushed and
thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your
• Plan and use the safest and most direct route to
• Shop before dark if possible. Coordinate shopping
trips with a friend.
• Never park in an unlit lot or area, no matter how
convenient it is.
• Never walk or shop listening to music with your ipod
or other device,
• Never walk or shop while talking on your cell phone
• Walk near the curb and do not pass too close to
shrubbery, dark doorways and other places of
• Avoid shortcuts.
• Choose busy, well-lighted streets and avoid isolated
areas, alleys, vacant lots, abandoned buildings and
• Walk facing traffic so you can see approaching cars.
• Beware of strangers approaching you for any
reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try
various methods of distracting you with the
intention of taking your money or belongings.
Carrying Your Valuables Safely
• Aside from how you look and act, the way you
hold your purse or wallet can also be a deciding
factor whether or not you're preyed upon. Most
thieves will go for the easiest target, which
means that if your purse is left unattended in a
shopping cart or your wallet is sticking out of
your pocket, you're more at risk.
• Get rid of what the thieves are after, in other words, do
not carry a purse. Take only what you need, for
example, a credit card and a small amount of cash, and
put them in a coat or jacket pocket (an inside pocket, if
• If you must carry a purse, use one with a
shoulder strap. The best way to wear it is to
wear the strap diagonally across your body. Hold
your purse firmly in front of your body.
• Put your wallet in your front pants pocket or an inside
• If someone bumps or jostles you or attempts to engage
you in a conversation, keep in mind someone may be
trying to take something from you.
• Don’t carry a large amount of cash on you.
• To keep your packages safe do not buy more than
you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with
you or ask a store employee to help you carry your
packages to the car.
• Never leave packages visible in your car windows.
This is especially relevant for SUVs.
• Lock them in the trunk.
• Have your keys readily available in your hand
before you go to your car.
• When approaching your vehicle to load your
purchases, keep at least one hand free to open
• While loading your packages, don’t leave your
handbag or purse unattended.
Protecting Yourself Against Fraud
• Don’t flash lots of money
• Wait until asked before taking out your credit
card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would
love to shoulder surf to get your account
• Don't sign the back of credit cards with your
name; instead shoppers should print "Please
ask for my ID" on the signature spot of cards.
This requires the sales associate to compare the
card against another form of identity to verify the
right person is using it. Pictures are a lot harder
to forge than signatures.
• Always protect the Personal Identification
Number (PIN) for your debit card. Never share it
with anyone, write it down, or lend it out. Use
your hand or body as a shield when entering
your PIN on a keypad.
• If your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, report
it to your financial institution immediately.
• If anything seems unusual about an ATM or point of
sale terminal, don't use it; report the situation to
police or your financial institution.
• Once the season is over, make it a habit to sit down
with your monthly statements or view your account
information online and look for any unusual
transactions. If you see anything strange, report it to
your financial institution immediately.
Avoiding Cyber Fraud
• Do not respond to unsolicited email or click links
contained within them.
• Avoid filling out forms contained in email
messages that ask for personal information.
• Log on directly to the official website for the
business identified in the email, instead of
“linking” to it from an unsolicited email.
• Contact the business that supposedly sent the
email to verify that the email is genuine.
• Beware of requests to act quickly. Scammers
often try to create a false sense of urgency
Christmas shopping can be a stressful event, and
if you factor in “Door Buster” sales and a mob
mentality, aggressive confrontations can and have
occurred during Black Friday promotions.
Effective Strategies for Defusing
• Back Off
• Let the other person win….is that blouse
really worth the potential ramifications?
• Avoid Confrontation
• Many times you can defuse the
anger by remaining calm and
reasonable yourself. Speak in a low,
soft tone. Keeping things in
perspective offers both of you the
chance to redirect your interaction.
• Keep Your Own Composure
• While some people do not overtly display
aggressive hostility, they make their anger
known in other ways. An individual may use
nonverbal cues such as glaring, staring or
rolling the eyes.
Black Friday may be among
the most anticipated shopping
events of the year for deal
hunters, but it's also the most
treacherous. Crowds of overexcited shoppers hungry for a
door buster sales can quickly
become a stampeding mass.
Crowd Safety Precautions
• Be aware of your surroundings. Things get weird in a
mob setting. Individuals tend to act in ways they would
not normally act when they are in a large (and
oftentimes unruly) mob. Three years ago, a New York
Walmart employee was killed by a rush of shoppers
who had waited all night to get in the store,
• Carry a cell phone. You might need to call authorities in
an emergency situation. Also, you may need a phone to
contact your friends and family should you get
• Travel in packs. There may be safety in numbers. Your
family and friends can give you a hand should you lose
your footing in a mob and will offer safety against
• If you find yourself stuck in a mob scene:
• Be prepared
• Stay Calm
• Stay on the sidelines
• If you're caught up in a riot, don't take sides. Try to look
as inconspicuous as possible, and slowly and carefully
move to the outside of the mob. Stay close to walls or
other protective barriers if possible but try to avoid
bottlenecks. These are areas where the crowd can be
squashed into a tight place, such as tunnels, pillars, high
fences and walls that go on for a long way.
• Use the social media to alert you as to where to
stay away from.
• Just as the rioters have started using social media
and texting to alert one another where to go, you
can flip this on its head and ask people to help you
know where to stay away from. Messages informing
you of which streets and areas are currently being
targeted provide you with instantaneous warnings of
where to avoid.
• Move away from the riot.
• The more time you spend in the midst of a riot, the
greater your chance of being injured or killed. That
said, in most circumstances it's better to move out of
a riot slowly
• Get to a safe place, and stay put.
Don't let criminals be your
scrooge this holiday
season. Take a few
precautions when you
shop and you'll enjoy a
safe and happy holiday
from your friends
at the American
A Bill Carcara Production