For many, the winter holidays are a joyous and exciting time of year. Unfortunately, some use the magic of the season to carry out ill-will. While we are in this festive season, it is still important for everybody to stay vigilant amidst the hustle and bustle. To help enjoy a more relaxed and safe season, Judson’s security team has prepared an important list of holiday safety tips and reminders.
While online shopping is the safest option whenever possible, sometimes shopping in stores is a must. If you do choose to shop in stores, try to go with a shopping buddy. Stay together at all times. As the old adage suggests, there is safety in numbers. Perpetrators typically target lone individuals who appear vulnerable.
Since it gets dark early this time of year, try to keep track of your time while out and about. When possible, complete your holiday shopping and return home within daylight hours. Be sure to have your cell phone and have it fully charged and ready for the day. Further, check the weather before planning your trip. Inclement weather poses a threat to both shopping and driving safety.
Practice situational awareness in parking lots and outside of stores. Be aware of your surroundings. Park as close to the building as possible and near exterior lighting. Be ready to go inside right away. Once you have completed your shopping and ready to return to your car, first scan the parking lot. Walk with your keys in-hand ready to activate the panic button if necessary. Be especially wary of windowless vans. If you notice somebody lingering near your vehicle, or something feels off, go back inside and request assistance from store security immediately.
Once you have safely returned to your vehicle, be sure to lock your doors. If you are going to multiple stores, keep your shopping bags from previous stops out of sight. Do not put them on the seats of your car; bags should be kept in the trunk to prevent break-ins.
Key points to remember:
Unfortunately, phone and email type scams increase dramatically during the holiday season. Common scams involve perpetrators posing as law enforcement, charities, or financial institutions. The caller or email sender may claim that a family member has been arrested and needs bail money. The individuals usually obtain familial information through a simple Google search. Therefore, do not immediately trust such a request. If this type of situation arises, hang up and contact a family member directly before taking action. You may also contact the Judson security team for assistance.
The holidays are a charitable giving time of year, which is wonderful. However, consider donating to organizations that you know and trust. If you are solicited to donate to an unfamiliar group, complete thorough research first. You can always hang up, investigate, and donate later. Do not be pressured to give money on the spot.
Scammers sometimes pose as financial institutions, insurance companies, the Social Security office, and even Medicare. Never share financial information over the phone without verifying the caller’s identity as well as the validity of the claim. If the caller tries to stop you from verifying their identity, hang up immediately. This is more than likely fraud. Work with your family, POA, or trusted financial advisor to determine whether or not a claim is real. If you are unsure, take the person’s name and contact information to allow you the opportunity to consult with a trusted advisor. Judson Security may also be able to assist.
Key points to remember:
As previously mentioned, it now gets dark very early. Plan your outside trips accordingly. Northeast Ohio weather is extremely temperamental, as we all know. Check the forecast when planning a trip and again immediately before leaving. Dark, icy, rainy, windy, and snowy conditions make driving especially dangerous. Additionally, be cautious in parking lots and on sidewalks. Wear non-skid shoes or boots and use your support aides like a walker or cane as prescribed by your physician. Ice often blends in with cement and increases fall risks.
While vaccination rates have increased, COVID is still a present safety threat. Stores tend to be extremely crowded during the holidays. We strongly recommend wearing masks indoors and to social distance when possible, even if you have been vaccinated. A facemask can help protect you from other seasonal illnesses like the cold and flu. Consider getting vaccinated including the booster, these are added benefits to help maintain your health.
The preceding advisories are not intended to instill fear, rather to educate and elevate awareness. Simple modifications can make all the difference for you or a loved one. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Judson Security (see numbers below). We wish you a joyous and safe holiday season!
Judson Park Security: 216-791-2880
Judson Manor Security: 216-791-2578
South Franklin Circle Security: 440-247-1300