MALWARE – IT DOESN’T CARE IF YOU’RE NAUGHTY OR NICE

November 17th 2011

Whether teens are shopping online for holiday gifts or just trying to get in on a good bargain, learning how to shop safely online is a critical skill. This lesson will help students understand how a little due diligence when shopping online from either a computer or mobile device can make the difference between getting a deal or a disaster.

Based on a Nov. 7th TechJournal news article, Mobile and online holiday shopping increasing this year, and supported by new research from Jupiter Research Mobile Virtual Goods Market to Near $5B by ‘16, Elastic Path Software Virtual Goods Mean Real Money This Holiday, and from IBM Mobile Device Retail Traffic to More Than Double This November Holiday Season, this lesson teaches students how to evaluate ‘deals’, create a safe shopping environment, and protect themselves while shopping online.

 

Lesson

You may have noticed that the number of stores sending out holiday advertisements skyrocketed the day after Halloween. Expect these ads to keep increasing until all last minute shopping has been exhausted as retailers try to squeeze out every possible dollar in holiday revenue. Chances are you will be among the hoard of consumers taking advantage of online deals.

Last year, 30 million people used the internet to buy holiday presents including 48% of teens aged 12-17 . This year analysts expect even more people to shop online, including 15% who are expected to do so through a mobile device . But whether you are shopping for others, or for yourself knowing how to get a great deal takes a lot more than just looking at the price tag.

In the news this week TechJournal posted an article titled Mobile and online holiday shopping increasing this year that looked into the trends and benefits of online shopping for this holiday season.

Grades - Appropriate for Grades 8-12

Time Required - 30-45 minutes


Learning Objectives

The key concepts covered in this lesson highlight the need to confirm that devices are free of malware before making online purchases, how students should evaluate the companies they are considering making a purchase from, how to check a ‘deal’ to see if it really is a deal, the steps they need to take in protecting their personal and financial identities, as well as the vocabulary words every student should understand.

  • Making financial transaction from an unsecured device – computer, laptop, phone, iPad or other tablet, etc. – places users at risk of financial identity theft.

  • The lowest price isn’t always the best deal. Not all companies provide quality service or products, and some store websites are criminal enterprises. Always check the reputation of a store before making a purchase and if they don’t have a positive reputation, don’t use them.

  • Just because an online store claims they’ve got a great deal doesn’t mean you can’t get the same item cheaper from another online store.

  • Never provide more personal information than necessary to make your purchase

Materials & Resources

Equipment Needed Large chalkboard or whiteboard, or overhead or computer/monitor, or paper so all the students can see what is written on it.
Full News Article Mobile and online holiday shopping increasing this year
Lesson Plan Online Holiday Shopping Brings Great Deals and Fraud
Lesson Presentation Companion Presentation

Vocabulary

Electronic commerce
- commonly known as e-commerce, eCommerce or e-comm, refers to the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems
Mobile commerce
- also known as M-Commerce or mCommerce, refers to the buying and selling of products or services over mobile devices
brick-and-mortar
- is used to describe the physical presence of a store or building to distinguish it from stores that are only online.
Price-shopping
- also called comparison shopping, it refers to checking the prices of an item with multiple sellers to get the best price
Public WiFi
- Internet access points provided for public use
  Lesson

Learning Activities

Price Challenge

Divide the class in to groups and give each group the challenge to find the best overall price of an item (the group competes internally and the winner is the one who finds the best overall deal). Provide the specific identifier of an item to purchase or students won’t be making an apples-to-apples comparison.
You may want to choose from this list, or pick something on your own:

  • A flat screen TV - Westinghouse 46" 120Hz LED HDTV LD-4655VX

  • A Pocket Camcorder - GE DV1

  • High-Fidelity Bluetooth Speaker System with AM/FM, CD, Dual Alarm, and Dock for iPod - iLuv i199 (White)

  • A USB Flash Drive - SanDisk Cruzer Blade USB flash drive - 4 GB

Each student needs to find what they think is the best total price (price + shipping & handling + taxes), The URL to the site with the best deal, and online reviews of that company. Extra points to go students who find and use a coupon to increase the discount!

Quick compare

Use the screenshot below to have students evaluate which offer is the best deal:

Screenshot 1
Answer: The top 3 offers are actually all the same price, even though on first look it would seem the third offer is the best. While all three companies have great ratings, the second company has the best rating. So, the best value is the second company listed here.
Screenshot 2
Answer: From just this screenshot you can’t tell which is the best offer, you would have to go to each of the websites that haven’t posted a price, see the price and look to see what shipping and tax might be added. However, looking at the three stores (next to the image of the boots) that do show prices the range is from $92 dollars to $250. Notice that two of the sites get a questionable rating from a tool that rates the safety of websites and the price of $92 dollars seems a little too good to be true – you would likely get cheap knockoffs.
  Learning Activities

Professional Development

This lesson delves into the security requirements of devices before shopping online, the reasons for protecting personal information, how to select your method of payments and what a good deal really includes. You can leverage this lesson to increase your own learning by gaining a deeper understanding in one or both of these areas:

Learn more about online fraud and scams, how to detect these issues and how to report them using the following resources:

Gain a deeper understanding on why securing mobile devices has become a requirement and how to install and manage mobile security.

  Professional Development

Parent Tips

It’s the holiday season and you’ve probably noticed that the number of stores sending out holiday advertisements skyrocketed the day after Halloween. In class we’ve discussed how practicing 6 steps for due diligence when shopping on either a computer or mobile device can make the difference between getting a deal or a disaster.

Last year, 30 million people used the internet to buy holiday presents including 48% of teens aged 12-17 . This year analysts expect even more people to shop online, including 15% who are expected to do so through a mobile device . Whether your teens are shopping online for gifts or just trying to get in on a good bargain, learning how to shop safely online is a critical skill all teens need to master because getting a great deal takes a lot more than just looking at the price tag.

The 6 precautions we discussed in class are:

1. Start with a secure internet environment.

If your computer, tablet or cell phone isn’t protected from viruses and other malware your financial information and passwords will be stolen as you make purchases (as will everything else you store on your computer or do online). This concept is so basic, yet far less than half of the US population adequately protects their computers – and only 4% have security protection on their tablets or smartphones.

  • Have anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed and up-to-date on all internet connected devices.

  • Secure your internet connection by ensuring your computer’s firewall is on, and encrypting your wireless network. Then, never use a public WiFi service for any type of financial transaction or other type of sensitive information transfer.

2. Learn which companies to trust. You need to either know the company – or know their reputation.

  • If you already know the store, shopping their online store is very safe. If there’s a problem you can always walk into the local store for help. If you already know the online store’s reputation you will also be very safe.

  • If you don’t know the store, it may still be the best option; you just need to take a few more steps. Search online for reviews from other users to see what their experiences were with the company, and conduct a background check by looking at sites that review e-stores (for example, Epinions, BizRate, Better Business Bureau). If the store isn’t listed as a legitimate site by one of these sources, or the store has a lot of negative reviews, DON’T SHOP THERE. It’s that easy.

3. Know how to avoid scams.

The holiday season is the best time for email and web scammers because they know millions of people will be spending billions of dollars online. To give you a sense of how much money is spent, in December of 2010, $32.6.8 Billion dollars were spent on internet shopping sites.

The best way to avoid scams is simple. NEVER, ever, click on a link in an email or on website advertisement no matter how reputable the host website or email sender may be. The website ad or email may be a really good fake, or the website or email account may have been hijacked by spammers. Instead, use a search engine and find the deal or store yourself – if you can’t find the deal on the legitimate store’s site you know that ‘offer’ was a scam.

4. Protect personal information.

Many sites encourage you to create a user account, but unless you truly plan to shop there often you’ll be better off not doing so. If you do choose to create a profile, do not let the store keep your financial information on file. All you really need to purchase something should be your name, mailing address, and your payment information.

5. Make payments safely using a credit card or well respected payment service.

Credit card purchases limit your liability to no more than $50 of unauthorized charges if your financial information is stolen, and the money in your bank account is untouched. Most debit cards do not offer this protection – and even when they do, you’re the one out of funds in the meantime. However, your child probably doesn’t have a credit card, so we’ve suggested they may want to strike a deal with you to put the charges on your card – when they hand you the cash – may be a good option.

Or, we suggested they can use a payment service like PayPal that hides their financial information from the online store and can be set up to take money out of their bank account. They should never use checks, cashier’s checks, wire transfers, or money orders as these carry high risks for fraud.

Finally, do your research.

Just because a store claims to have the lowest price, doesn’t mean they actually have the best deal.

  • Comparing the advertised price of an item doesn’t give you the full picture. You have to look at the final price – that includes any shipping, handling or taxes to see which deal may be really be the better bargain. Some companies show lower prices, but make up the discount by charging high shipping fees.

  • Check the company’s return policy. Some companies charge fairly steep return fees for shipping and restocking, so if you think the item may be returned factor this into the price as well.

  • Look for online coupons or discounts. Lots of stores offer special deals if you just take the time to look for them. Typing the store’s name and ‘coupon’ is usually all it takes to discover whether extra discounts may apply.

As you help teens with holiday shopping, reinforce these safe shopping skills to help them now, and for the rest of their lives.

  Parent Tips

Additional Resources

Bibliogrophy

  1. ComScore data

  2. Social media and mobile internet use among teens and young adults – PEW Internet and American life project 2010

  3. Mobile Device Retail Traffic to More Than Double This November Holiday Season - IBM

  4. 96% of smartphones and tablets lack necessary security software - MobiThinking

  5. Mobile Security & Malware Protection - BullGuard U.S. Online Holiday Shopping Season Reaches Record $32.6 Billion for November-December Period - ComScore

  6. ComScore data

  7. Social media and mobile internet use among teens and young adults – PEW Internet and American life project 2010

  8. Mobile Device Retail Traffic to More Than Double This November Holiday Season - IBM

  9. 96% of smartphones and tablets lack necessary security software - MobiThinking

  10. U.S. Online Holiday Shopping Season Reaches Record $32.6 Billion for November-December Period - ComScore

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