If you’re revved up to hit the malls the day after Thanksgiving, don’t walk out the door until you take a few minutes to plan a safe shopping trip—for you and your wallet.

  • Make a list and check it twice. Plan to stay within your budget and only shop for items on your list. Don’t carry a large amount of cash—use a credit card or digital wallet to minimize loss if your wallet is stolen.
  • Clean out your wallet. Do this before you get to the stores. Keep only the credit cards, cash, or identification you need for the day. Leave everything else at home.
  • Know whom to call. Write down all the phone numbers of credit and charge card issuers that you’d have to call if your wallet were stolen. Include the credit union phone number on that list. Keep the list in a safe place—but not in your wallet. Report any theft or loss immediately to both the card issuer and the police.
  • Park under the lights. Seek out well-lighted parking spaces as close to the store as possible.
  • Hold onto your receipts. Don’t let the cashier toss the receipt in the shopping bag. Keep all your holiday shopping receipts in a single envelope and make sure the charges match your monthly credit card statements .
  • Have your key ready. Put your ignition key in your hand before you go to your vehicle. If you’re fumbling for your keys with a load of packages in your arms, you’re an easy target.
  • Put packages in the trunk. Make several trips if necessary. Don’t leave anything of value—even a coat—visible through car windows.
  • Have “The Safety Talk” with the kids. If you’re shopping with children, teach them to go to a police officer or a store security guard if they get separated from you and get lost.