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Shopping safety tips – stay alert

Posted December 1, 2013 by myjoburg in My Joburg
Shopping safety tips - stay alert

As Christmas approaches and more and more people flock to retail centres in search of the perfect gifts, Cedar Square shopping centre management urges shoppers to use common sense and stay alert while making their purchases.

“It’s the ‘silly season’, and people get so wrapped up in taking advantage of the bargains and looking for the ideal gift, that they forget to be aware of their surroundings and guard their valuables,” says Karyn Theron, Communications Manager at Cedar Square, an upmarket, open air shopping centre in Fourways. “Criminals know that you’re busy putting together a wonderful Christmas for your family, so it’s easy for them to steal a wallet, grab a cell phone or even some of your shopping!”

The Cedar Square security team will be on high alert during the festive season, but Karyn says even the smallest measures to ensure safety could make a big difference. Below are a few shopping safety tips which were recently released by the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC):

• Secure your belongings Don’t leave your possessions in your trolley, and ensure that you have control over your handbag and valuables at all times. Be aware of strangers who may attempt to distract you.

• Be alert when drawing money When using an ATM, make sure the area is well lit and scan the surroundings for anything or anyone suspicious before approaching the machine. Have your card ready in your hand before you approach the ATM and remain aware of your surroundings while processing your transaction. Don’t let anyone distract you. If you are drawing large amounts of money from the bank, make security arrangements if necessary and never advertise your intentions.

• Credit card/bank card fraud Always protect your PIN number – shield the key pad and make sure no one is looking over your shoulder while you type it in. Make sure your card has your signature on the back and never let it out of your sight when paying for goods or services. Review your account statements regularly and report lost or stolen cards immediately. Remember too to never permit someone to “assist” you while doing a transaction at the ATM. This is how most people get caught out.

• Report suspicious behaviour If you spot anything suspicious or out of the ordinary, immediately report it to the shopping centre security or to the SAPS – by doing this you lower the risk of incidents.

• Be alert when leaving the centre Have your car keys in your hand before you get to your car, always be aware of your surroundings and be weary of strangers approaching you for any reasons. Don’t approach your vehicle if a suspicious-looking person is hanging around the vicinity – rather call a security guard to accompany you. Give the vehicle a quick inspection as you approach, checking door handles, locks and back seat before entering. Once you leave the centre, it is advisable to ensure that your shopping parcels and other valuables are out of sight. Don’t drive home if you suspect you are being followed, rather drive to the nearest police station.

Karyn advises shoppers to remain just as alert during the holiday period as you are throughout the year. “Just because you’re on holiday, it doesn’t mean the criminals are!” she says. “Think about safety in shopping centres, safety on the roads and safety at home.”

Cedar Square Shopping Centre is dedicated to providing a safe shopping environment. In addition to investing in the services of one of South Africa’s leading private security firms, management regularly attends local crime fighting policing forums and works very closely with the SACSC.


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