Holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but they can also be the most dangerous. Here’s how to stay safe.
• Read the instructions and/or warning labels thoroughly before you set up your fully lit menorah or Christmas tree to make sure it complies with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Most manufacturers provide a help line phone number or website.
• Store your money and credit/debit cards in a safe place. After paying for an item, place your cards or cash in an inner pocket, purse, or satchel. Be alert and make sure that no one is following you, especially in a parking lot or garage. Keep a whistle on your key chain and use it to alert someone if you need help.
• Take your receipt. Even though credit/debit card numbers are no longer printed on a receipt, there’s still enough information that can be used to access your account information. Destroy any receipts you no longer need.
• Set your mobile phone, tablet, and other electronic devices’ security features to update automatically. Malware proliferates at alarming rates. To keep your personal information safe, the security programs on your electronics should be updated regularly.
• Identity theft is one of the most difficult invasions from which to recover. During the holidays, keep regular tabs on your bank accounts and credit cards, ensuring that you recognize all of the listed transactions. If you discover an unauthorized transaction, contact the credit card company or your bank immediately.
• Check your vehicle before making that shopping trip. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated; the windshield wipers don’t leave any streaks; and that all fluid reservoirs are filled to the recommended levels. Keep a gallon of windshield wiper fluid in your car, next to the jumper cables, flares, shovel, and cat litter for traction in snow or ice.
• Do not text when you’re behind the wheel. Don’t text and drive. It’s against the law for good reason! Driving in the winter can be quite challenging and requires your full attention. Don’t be the unsafe, distracted driver on the road. According to various highway safety organizations, distracted driving—particularly texting—has overtaken drunken driving as the cause.