Watch Your Wallet This Festive Season… Here is How Criminals Will Target South Africans

The national marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT, Charnel Hattingh says that criminals will be targeting the increased number of shoppers over the next few weeks, who are doing their festive shopping.

All shoppers will need to practice caution and to be vigilant whilst shopping. There is generally an increase over this time of year in follow home incidents. This is where shoppers are followed home after being at the malls and are subsequently hijacked in their driveways. This is because criminals are aware that shoppers have a car full of newly bought items and are usually distracted and easy targets. 

If you think that you are being followed, then drive to your closest police station or a security provider. Also, don’t forget your general hijacking safety tips like waiting in the road for the gate to open before driving in and ensuring that the gate is closed before getting out of your vehicle. 

So, what can you do when you are at the mall?

Shop Safe at Malls

When you are at a shopping centre or a mall, you should carry as little as possible in your pockets and handbag. Rather leave any unnecessary bank or store cards or large amounts of cash at home. The prime hunting ground for a pickpocket or bag snatcher is a packed store. You should also never leave your handbag or wallet in a trolley. If you don’t use a bag, then keep your purse or wallet in the front pocket of your jacket or trousers. Criminals will also be targeting phones, so keep yours out of sight in your front pocket or a zipped bag. 

If you plan to draw a large amount of cash, then take someone with you to keep an eye out whilst you are at the ATM and on the way home watch out for any suspicious individuals or vehicles. If you can avoid drawing large amounts of cash then do so, because electronic payments are safer. 

Fidelity ADT, also said that your safety outside the mall is just as important as inside the mall. Before you leave the mall, have your keys ready so that you don’t waste any time getting yourself and your purchases into the car. This also means that you will be able to keep hold of your handbag whilst you walk. If someone does try to take your bag, rather let it go. 

Hattingh also says that you should try and avoid late night shopping. Even though the idea of a quieter shopping centre is appealing, you are more vulnerable in mall bathrooms, car parks and so on. If you don’t have a choice and need to shop late then be vigilant and you should report any suspicious individuals to mall security.

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