Are You a Target for Criminals this Back-to-School Season?


    It’s back to school season and parents and students have been busy preparing for the start of the new school year. For some, school has already begun and preparations are out of the way, but others are just about to make the last-minute rush.

    During this period, which is one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year, we thought it would be useful to remind you of some safety measures, because it only takes a moment of letting your guard down to become an easy target for criminals.

    1. Shop online/Make pre-orders

    Hopeton Thomas, Security Manager, JN Bank, says with greater access to online banking and shopping, the need to walk around with a lot of physical cash has been reduced. Consider making orders online and take advantage of options such as curb side pick-up and delivery that are being offered by some merchants. You can also try calling businesses to pre-order and paying for and collecting your items later.

    1. Avoid vendors that accept cash-only

    You may also want to stay away from vendors who only take cash. Why? Because criminals may be watching and targeting these vendors and who they do business with. Shopping with them may also make you a potential target for theft. A wallet or purse are prime targets for criminals in crowded shopping areas.

    1. Shop with company

    It’s wise to have another person, preferably an adult, with you while you shop. With company, you will be able to share the load because it’s never a good idea to overload your hands.

    If you have a car, the extra person may also be useful in staying with packages and bags left in your vehicle while you run to another vendor/store. Remember, people are always observing and the last thing you want after a chaotic shopping day is to find your vehicle broken into and all of your items gone.

    1. Be aware of your surroundings.

    Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason and of people trying to distract you. Often, criminals work in teams. You can reduce your risk by not showcasing any gadgets and devices. Also, be on the lookout for any abnormal activity as you head back home, and be ready to take action. Change your route, if necessary, and do not be ‘a Good Samaritan’ and offer strangers transportation.

    1. Do some investigation before you shop

    For a smooth and seamless shopping experience, try window shopping and do some research beforehand of the places you’ll likely visit, the items you require and their cost. This way, you’ll know exactly where you’ll need to go and what you’ll need to do at another convenient time.

    The JN Bank Security Manager says this information gathering process will help reduce distractions, allow you to move more confidently and give the impression to people around who may be watching you, that you are in full control of your surroundings.

    1. Be cautious about people offering to help

    Be wary of unsolicited offers to help from persons this time of year because they may just want to help themselves to your supplies/property. Also, be wary of people making you offers that may seem too good to be true.

    1. Install a car tracker and alarm

    For drivers, the JN Bank Security Manager is also encouraging persons to install trackers and alarms in vehicles. Become familiar with the sound the car alarm makes, so in the event you’re in a store and hear the alarm you will be alerted to it.

    When leaving your vehicle, and after you return to drive off, also make sure all your doors are locked.

    1. Know that not everyone who wants to rob you, wants your goods

    In this season, it is important to also note that there are fraudsters looking to capture your data. Some will use this sale and shopping opportunity to pursue phishing activities, by pretending to be persons from reputable institutions to trick you into giving them your personal information. Avoid deals from unpopular sources and be very aggressive about securing your card information (i.e. protecting your pin) while making purchases.

    Remember: It is a short shopping season, but one that can still cost you a lot, so be extra careful as you go about your business at this time.

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