Be alert while shopping

Don’t get more than you bargained for while shopping this festive season.

A LOCAL security company has urged shoppers to be cautious when they visit shopping centres in the coming weeks and to keep their wits, and belongings, about them.

Shops are bound to be busier than usual as people prepare for the holidays and Martin Kriel, managing director of ADT Security's east coast region said it is a good idea to carry as little as possible in your handbag or pockets, and that unnecessary bank or store cards and large amounts of cash should be left at home.

“A packed clothing store or supermarket is the prime hunting-ground for a pick-pocket or bag-snatcher. 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,” warned Kriel.

He said if you need to draw money at an ATM, it is best to use a machine in a busy area.

“Be aware of anyone who stands nearby you and never accept help from anyone. Put your money in your purse or wallet before you walk away from the ATM. If you think someone has followed you from the machine, walk into the nearest shop or up to a mall security guard if you spot one nearby,” said Kriel.

He said your safety outside the shopping centra was just as important as it was inside.

“It is vital that you keep your wits about you when walking the distance between the exit and your car, especially at night and even more so if you are alone.

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

He suggested that if you use public transport, you should try to complete your shopping earlier rather than later. He added that it was a good idea to check the transport timetable ahead of your trip to the shops so that you don’t have to wait too long at a bus stop or train station.

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