<p></p> <p>Back-to-school shopping season is prime time for the retail industry. According to the National Retail Foundation, families with children in grades K-12 will spend approximately $603 on clothing and shoes, school supplies and electronics. These costs increase when it is a college student purchasing school supplies. And of course, the spending doesn’t just stop on the first day of school. Supplies for class projects and gear for after-school activities that will also be needed.</p> <p>Parents this year are likely to keep their eyes out for the best deals and sales they can find as many families still struggle with the recovering economy. With this in mind, some may be looking for email alerts for <a href=";a_aid=aff1010">coupons or online sales</a>.</p> <p>"Most cybercriminals want money, and they’re after yours," said AppRiver Security Analyst Troy Gill. "Whether that means stealing your credit card information or copying your bank account numbers, black hats will monitor online shopping activity to achieve their goal.  An increase in online activity, like back-to-school shopping days, presents a good opportunity for cybercriminals to gain access to personal information. These threats are persistent year-round, but sale events and other attention grabbers present opportunities for thieves to <a href="">steal your personal information.</a>"</p> <p>To help shoppers stay safe and secure while making their back-to-school purchases, Fred Touchette, senior security analyst at AppRiver, offered the following tips. Click on "next" in the upper right of this page to continue.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Online fraudsters</strong>

<p>, also known as <a href=";a_aid=aff1010">phishers</a>, will attempt to contact back-to-school shoppers via email. Although these emails can look promising, never click on a link or attachment from an unsolicited email.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Do not make sensitive transactions via convenient free Wi-Fi hot spot locations</strong>

<p>. These open networks can be very dangerous, as your account credentials or other sensitive information can <a href="">easily be swiped</a> from the wireless traffic.</p> <p></p>

<strong>If you are not sure, check</strong>

<p>. This holds especially true when it comes to the name or reputability of a company. Check with the Better Business Bureau.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Before entering sensitive information</strong>

<p> into a website, look for signs that indicate a <a href=";a_aid=aff1010">secure transaction</a>. First, check for the padlock symbol that should be located in the browser window by clicking on the icon and verifying that its certificate is up-to-date and issued to the same company you are visiting. Second, make sure you see "https" before the name of the company in the address bar as it signifies the page is secure and any data entered onto that page will be sent across the Internet securely.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Always log out of sensitive sites (and do so completely)</strong>

<p>. It is possible for an attacker to hijack a session that has been left open. Even though most sites will perform an auto log-out after a period of inactivity, attackers can get into an account if the session isn’t purposefully terminated.</p> <p></p>

<strong>use different log-in and password information</strong>

<p>When setting up online accounts make sure to on each and every one. <a href="">Passwords</a> should be as long as possible and contain a mix of upper and lower case characters, numbers, punctuation and symbols.  Don't allow sites to store your credit card information when making online purchases. This allows for added security</p> <p></p>

<strong>Don’t allow sites to store your credit card information </strong>

<p>when making online purchases. This allows for added security.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Use the same credit card</strong>

<p> for all of your online purchases and only use that card for purchases online. This will make it easier to track your spending and spot any strange activity.</p> <p></p>

<strong>multiple layers of security</strong>

<p>Only make online purchases from behind . Use a <a href=";a_aid=aff1010">firewall</a>, an anti-spam/anti-virus solution, and encryption, and use these from a trusted service provider.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Remain vigilant</strong>

<p> and try to use simple logic. If it seems too good to be true, and it is sitting in your inbox, delete it, especially if it is from someone you did not initiate contact with.</p> <p><em>This story was provided by <a href="" target="_blank">SecurityNewsDaily</a>, a sister site to TechNewsDaily.</em></p>

10 Back-to-School Online Shopping Safety Tips