Black Friday: experts break down how to keep you and your wallet safe this year

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WFXR News Good Day Virginia at 7

Black Friday has arrived, and shoppers across the country are gearing up for the busiest shopping day of the year.

Safety is a major concern for many malls across the country. 

Two people were shot during an argument while black Friday shopping at a mall in Alabama.  It’s because of events like that malls like River Ridge in Lynchburg, are on high alert. Luckily, nothing like that has happened there.

“It’s been a good holiday shopping season so far,” said Katie Farris with River Ridge.

“We want to ensure that all of our guests have a comfortable and enjoyable shopping experience, and we take that very seriously. So having our security guards here and working with the local Lynchburg police department to make sure we have adequate security on site is important.”

She says they have security guards and some police officers patrolling the mall and a 24-hour security tip line people can call if they need help or see something suspicious.

The safety doesn’t just stop inside the mall. They say you should try to hide your shopping bags in your trunk if you can and always make sure your doors are locked.

When it comes to shopping, experts advise making time to do research before hitting the mall. 

“Do your homework,” said Julie Wheeler of the Better Business Bureau. “Comparison shop. Check out all the ads, and find out who has the best deal on what you want. Make sure you’re getting the quality that you want. Make a list – a very detailed list of what you want to purchase and where you want to purchase.”

Making a detailed list will ensure you aren’t overspending. 

Safety is almost an important priority. Experts say while millions of shoppers nationwide hit the stores, thieves may be lurking for your personal information. 

They say to only take one credit card with you and to keep it in front of you while you shop. 

“When you’re going to a store or a mall to shop is to pay attention to everything around you,” said Wheeler. “Only carry one credit card with you. Keep it in front of you whether you use a cross body pocket book or in your front pocket. Don’t put stuff in your back pocket because there are thieves out there who are looking to steal things.”

The last thing experts advise shoppers to do is check the refund policies before you swipe your card. 

“Stores do not have to take merchandise back so you need to find out on the front end,” said Wheeler. “Will they give a refund? Will they just give a store credit? Do you have a time frame in which to make a return?  Always make sure to keep your receipts and get gift receipts to give to whoever is receiving the gift.”

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