Classes start at Lakes District Secondary School on Sept. 3. (Blair McBride photo)

Being wise with back to school shopping

With the start of school just one week away, parents should be wary of potential scams and know how to prepare their children for the things they’ll need in class.

Before buying anything, be aware of what items the school requires students to bring.

“This way parents can avoid buying unnecessary items,” as Mike Skinner, Assistant Superintendent of School District 91 (SD91) told Lakes District News.

Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS), for example, doesn’t issue a specific list of required items before classes start.

“If there are stores out there saying this is the Grade 9 list or whatever list, that doesn’t come from us,” said Heidi Grant, LDSS principal.

“The advice that we give for the first few days is that they have a sturdy binder with some dividers, pens and pencils, lined paper, a simple calculator, and shoes and clothes to change into for gym class. Teachers will have specific requirements when kids get their course schedule. They all ask for different things.”

The high school provides locks for the lockers, as well.

School supplies are available for students who can’t get the required items right away, Grant added.

If there are still items that students and their parents feel are necessary, there are a few tips to bear in mind.

If that laptop for university or college – or even high school – students is really deemed important, do some research on brands and warranties and read customer reviews to find the best deals, as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advised in its Back to School tip sheet.

READ MORE: BBB Tip: Back to School

If buying things online, “make sure the URL starts with ‘https’ and includes a lock symbol. The ‘s’ in ‘https’ stands for secure, that way you know your information is being protected,” the BBB said.

Use a credit card instead of a debit card because credit cards give extra protection and it’s easier to dispute fraudulent charges with them.

Make the most of cash-back or rebate offers to save money.

If other parents have the same set of markers, pens or other stationary in mind, buy them together in bulk and split the costs.

“Be extremely wary of any website or store that asks for your child’s personal information in order to access special deals,” the BBB advised.

“A child’s Social Insurance Number (SIN) is valuable to those committing identity theft because it offers a clean, blank slate to create and obtain fraudulent records which can go undetected for several years. If a business asks for their SIN, get more information. 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?”

The lowest price isn’t always the best option. An unknown website might offer something similar for cheaper, but make sure the site has user reviews and badges for consumer protection agencies.


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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