Experts are warning parents and students to beware of online scammers during back to school shopping this year.
According to Jason Meza, regional director with the Better Business Bureau, consumers are expected to spend record amounts of money on technology for at-home work and learning.
However, he warns it's important people have their guards up, particularly when it comes to online transactions. "BBB has seen an uptick in online sites that are offering PPE related merchandise or school related curriculum and remote based learning tools—they're fraudulent sites," says Meza.
Meza says the fake sites claiming to help students with remote learning are designed by scammers to steal money and are taken down quickly after they're reported. He tells CBS Austin more people have lost money to online purchasing scams than any other scams since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Federal Trade Commission website shows a massive increase in online shopping scams in the past several months. In Texas, consumers have lost $5.7 million to scammers this year alone.
"Good online safety is making sure your shopping safe website," says Meza.
When shopping online, the BBB advises parents to check the spelling of the website, make sure there's a secure connection, use a credit card with built in protection and keep in mind: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Experts say often sites are designed to look like familiar brands or stores -- however a closer look at the website often reveals glaring mistakes or dissimilarities.