NEW YORK (WWTI) — Classes are back in session for students of all ages in New York this month. However with a new school year, comes new dangers.
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection issued an alert on Tuesday to provide consumers with basic back-to-school safety tips. To protect themselves, the Division is urging consumers to be mindful of their privacy, dormitories and back-to-school spending.
“Heading back to school is often an exciting time for families, and it’s also an opportunity to start new routines,” Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said in a press release. “As part of your new back-to-school routine, I encourage all New Yorkers to consider some basic tips to help keep students from elementary school to college safe this school year.”
The Division of Consumer Protection warned that the main concern this time of year is identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission, from 2019 to 2020, reports of identity theft increased by 85% in New York State. When headed back to school, New Yorkers are suggested to following these precautions to avoid identity theft.
- Only label books, backpacks and lunches with your full name and any other information on the inside
- Be careful when providing identifying information to after-school activities and sports clubs upon registration
- Register cell phone’s with the National Do Not Call Registry
- Regularly check online social networks
- Discuss internet safety with children
- Turn on two-factor authorization
Regarding back-to-school shopping, New Yorkers are urged to use caution when using credit cards and track spending. The Division stated that consumers should also always review monthly credit card statements carefully to ensure they are being billed for the correct dollar amount. Additionally, when purchasing “Big Ticket” items such as computers or tablets, consumers are urged to review warranty coverage, always take not of the fine print and quality and other rain checks made available.
For students returning to or first arriving at college dormitories, the Division warned of additional safety measures. This includes locating the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, check for working sprinkler systems, locating the nearest emergency exits, never overloading the outlets and reviewing the emergency plan in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide leak.
For more consumer protection information, call the DCP Helpline at 800-697-1220, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit the DCP website.