Back to school in the COVID-19 era: How to protect members against rising online fraud

Back to school season is upon us, and this year is shaping up to be radically different. Consumer behaviors have changed significantly since the onset of the pandemic crisis, and families are now doing much of their shopping online as they prepare for learning at home. Unfortunately, fraudsters are primed to capitalize on the ongoing uncertainty.

Mid-summer, most public school systems across the country were still assessing their plans for the fall semester. As of August 11, 2020, seven states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia had statewide school closures in effect, and 17 of the 20 largest school districts had decided on remote learning as their back-to-school instructional model, affecting over 4 million students[1].

In response, families’ traditional back to school shopping patterns have been upended. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers are expected to increase their purchasing this season, and will spend significantly more on electronics like laptop computers to meet students’ distance learning needs.


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