shopping center crowd
Seasonal Safety: Part II

Written by Deanna Laperle, Facility Security Officer

As a continuation to the previous seasonal safety blog, additional safety awareness and crime prevention tips can be found below:

  • Charity Scams – There are people looking to scam you by pulling at your heart-strings to donate to a good cause; do your research – make sure you know the organization you are donating to is authentic and supports the cause in the way you want. A good place to start your research is the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB’s) Wise Giving Alliance (WGA).
  • Phishing Schemes – While you should always be aware of phishing schemes, they will become more prevalent during the holidays. Many phishing e-mails will imitate popular package carriers (USPS, FedEx, USPS) and send fake tracking links; they can gain access to your system if you click on these links, so be wary of any communication received by carriers.
    • Phishing e-mails often contain spelling and grammar mistakes
    • Legitimate companies will never ask for personal credentials via email, so be wary of any e-mails requesting this information (PII, PHI or financial information)
    • Don’t trust everything you see – if it looks even remotely suspicious, don’t open it
  • Counterfeit Merchandise – Counterfeiters profit from creating knock-offs of expensive items in high demand – to include handbags, sunglasses and illegally downloaded music, movies and TV shows – and sell them to unsuspecting consumers at a “bargain”. Make sure you only buy from legitimate and trusted sellers, particularly when you’re making online purchases from third parties.
  • Dangerous Driving – The holidays are at a time for frequent celebration, but there are people who can’t or don’t control their indulgences and then get behind the wheel. There is also more traffic and general congestion, and people may be more aggressive on the roads.
    • Report dangerous driving to local police by dialing a state-specific number for aggressive driving (Virginia’s is #77, only when calling from a cell phone) or 911
    • If you make a call to report dangerous driving, ensure you are doing so safely – either pull over to make the call or use hands-free Bluetooth if it’s available in your vehicle

Remember to be vigilant of your surrounding and the actions of those around you. Criminals blend in easier in crowded shopping areas and parking structures, and they look for easy targets – people who are alone, flustered or distracted. Do your research on charities, sellers and items to make sure they are legitimate.  If you see something suspicious, report it! You can report businesses and charities through the BBB and to local authorities.  You can report suspicious persons to onsite Security and dangerous drivers to the local police.  Above all, ARServices encourages you to practice crime prevention so you can thoroughly enjoy this holiday season!


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