BBB Back to School Tips

August 04, 2016


Vancouver, BC – Summer on the west coast is still technically in full swing but that doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t start thinking about back to school plans for their kids. That of course, means supplies and new clothes will be on the list over the next couple of weeks. It also means parents need to be diligent when it comes to spending money and conscious when it comes to ID theft of children. It does happen.

BBB serving Mainland BC offers these tips to make heading back to school an enjoyable time for the entire family:

BUDGET: It’s no lie that mortgages and rent here on the west coast can be challenging. That means setting up a back to school budget and sticking to it is very important. Price shopping online can help keep things in check.
LIST: Make a list and stick to it.
RETURN/REFUND POLICY: Kids can be fickle. They can love a new shirt yesterday but hate today. Understand that in BC, there are no laws that govern return policy. BBB’s only concern would be that stores honour their own policies, so ask what they are before you leave the store. Keep all original packaging and receipts.
ONLINE SHOPPING: Many parents will hit the Internet for back to school purchases. If you are using a credit card online, make sure the point of purchase web page’s URL contains the ‘https://’ and the lock icon. This means it’s a safe site to buy from. If possible, use a third party pay portal such as PayPal.
CRAIGSLIST: If you’re buying supplies privately make sure you don’t wire money to someone you’ve not met. Use PayPal if possible, but if you are using cash, make sure you meet in a public place and bring a friend.
SOCIAL MEDIA: If you use Facebook you know banner ads are all over the place and many ads are even catered to what you like. Some of them, however, are just click bait ads to drive you to a different website where you could potentially be asked to input personal information. Take note of the ad and go to the store's website directly.

Children and ID Theft

Believe it or not, children make good targets for ID Theft. They have zero credit history and no questionable banking transactions that would raise a red flag to a financial institution. A child can have their ID stolen through their social insurance number and you may not find out about it for years.

BBB has some tips for protecting your child’s identity as they head back to school:

• Don’t allow them to carry around their social insurance number. Leave it at home and locked in a safe place. In fact, there is no reason you need to carry your own SIN around.
• If a business or school asks for their SIN, ask questions. Why do they need it and where and how is this information being stored? How long is it being stored and how will it be terminated? Who has access to it?
• Registered Education Savings Plans are a great way to ensure you have money for your child’s post-secondary education, however opening an account with a SIN can leave a child vulnerable to ID theft should the system be hacked. Only deal with reputable companies that offer RESPs in their portfolio.
• Educate your child on being safe if they are active in the online world. Keep detailed personal information off of social media profiles.


Media Contacts:

Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
404-788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2M1

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 109 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2015, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 1.8 million times for Business Reviews and processed over 7,500 complaints.