Black Friday gives shoppers a chance to buy gifts at deeply discounted prices, but it's also a prime opportunity for thieves to strike.
"People are out in large numbers and could be easily distracted because their minds are on getting the best deal," said Marilyn Buskohl, a spokeswoman for AAA of South Dakota. "So they might not be paying as much attention to their surroundings as usual."
People shopping on Black Friday need to be careful to safeguard their belongings and prevent identity theft, Buskohl said.
Shoppers should only carry the credit cards they plan to use on Black Friday and leave their social security cards at home, according to news release from the AAA's Financial Services Division.
There is no need to carry a wallet with a lot of credit or debit cards if you only want to use one, Buskohl said.
After people walk out of a store with a new item, they should pack it away in the trunk of their vehicle as soon as possible, instead of tossing it in the back seat, she said.
"Thieves won't see an opportunity to steal things," Buskohl said. "If they see a car full of stuff, there is a temptation to take it."
People who plan to shop online should make sure to only stick to websites they know and trust, she said.
They should also be sure to double check the website address to ensure it is secure, Buskohl said.
Before entering credit card information make sure to look the "S" in front of the standard Web address, the AAA release stated.
It should look like "https://" instead of “http://". This "S" means it's a secure website.
People who stay aware of their surroundings and take these simple precautions will have much more pleasant Black Friday experience, she said.
Tips for safe driving in parking lots during Black Friday
Turn off cell phones while driving.
Watch for pedestrians, especially young children.
Do not park in a tight space, such as between two sport utility vehicles.
Drive slower than usual and pay attention.
Wear your seat belt. Injuries can happen even in low-speed collisions.
Source: AAA of South Dakota.