It’s August and that means parents are gathering every item on their child’s supply list for the school year. Unfortunately, hackers are finding numerous ways to take advantage of online shoppers.
Windi Hornsby did some of her shopping from her device for her third grader Lilly and fifth grader Maggie.
“They are wild, smart, amazing kids who were definitely ready to head back to school when it was time,” Hornsby said.
To get everything on the girls’ list, Hornsby started browsing online.
“First I started with a little shopping on Amazon, putting everything in a cart and seeing prices,” Hornsby said.
Millions of parents will take their school supply shopping online too. Unfortunately, cybersecurity experts say scammers know this.
So, the first thing consumers should do is make sure there’s an “s” after “http” in the website’s URL.
“That means your data’s encrypted, it’s like a secured channel when you’re using that website,” Scott Shackelford, Executive Director at IU’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, said.
Experts caution against buying from websites you are not familiar with. If you do decide to buy from an unknown website, experts say do not allow the page to save your card information.
“Maybe just check out as a guest and that could help make sure that you have better control over the data there,” Shackelford said.
If you see a deal posted on social media, Shackelford cautions against that too. He advices you try to find the item elsewhere after exiting the site.
“Verify that this is indeed accurate, it says what it says it actually is and that there’s reviews etcetera that you can double-check,” Shackelford explained.
Experts add it’s always safer to use a credit card when online shopping instead of a debit card. This way if a fraudulent charge occurs, it’s easier to dispute it.