How Kids and Teens Can Shop Online Safely

Shopping online is easier than ever. With just a click of a mouse, you can buy anything from clothing to the latest video game—all from the comfort of your home. While shopping online has its perks, it’s important to shop smart.

Here are some tips to help you protect yourself while shopping online. 

What are the risks of buying items online?


Phishing is a cyber attack that uses an email or text message to get personal or sensitive information from the person they are targeting. Unfortunately, phishing is the third most common scam in Canada. That’s why it’s important to understand what phishing is. A phishing scam could look like an email from your bank, or a random text message. Some of the signs of a phishing scam include grammer errors, misspelled words, incorrect email address, or a message that sounds urgent.

Theft of data

Shopping online usually requires us to provide personal information, such as our full name, home address, and a credit card number or other method of payment (like the Mydoh Smart Cash Card). It’s important to understand that theft of data and identity theft could occur online. You may be vulnerable to having your personal information stolen by cybercriminals who could hack into their account or commit other fraudulent activities, such as opening a credit card in your name. 


If you spend more much time on your laptop as they do studying, you probably don’t need to lecture them about the dangers of malware. But for the rest of us, malware is a catch-all phrase for malicious software, such as viruses, worms, or ransomware. Malware is designed to harm a person’s device or network. Typically, cybercriminals use malware to obtain personal information which they can use for financial gain. 

Fake online reviews

How many of us check the reviews before buying an item online? When there are near-identical items to choose from, that five star rating could be the deciding factor before clicking “add to shopping basket.” But, according to a 2017 report, approximately one-third of all online consumer reviews are fake. Be aware that some companies may encourage people to post favourable reviews online. 

Counterfeit goods

As shopping online has become more popular, so have counterfeit goods in Canada. Be warned: those top-dollar designer sneakers may be a knock-off. The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network reports that between $20 and $30 billion in counterfeit products move through Canada every year. That’s a lot of fake products. 

How can you protect yourself when shopping online?

Here are some tips to help protect you when shopping online: 

Purchase from trusted and secure sites 

Shoop at trusted sites, which means sites where the URL begins with “HTTPS.” You should also look for a locked padlock on any site before shipping The icon usually appears on the left of the URL in the address bar. 

You should also be wary of sites that may look similar to trusted sites, but the URL is slightly different (for example instead of, as these sites could be fake. Another red flag might be websites with typos or grammatical errors. Consider checking to see if the website has a phone number and physical address before spending your money online. 

Protect your personal information 

You may not realize how much of your personal information you’re unknowingly sharing online. Thanks to social media, casual acquaintances can know your birthday and even where you live. Remember to not overshare details on social media sites or other places online. Similarly, if they’re shopping online and are asked questions about personal details such as financial data, they should consider the following:

  • Is this information necessary for my online purchase?
  • Who is collecting this information?
  • What will they do with it? 

Be wary of great deals

We all love a bargain, but if you come across an online deal that’s too good to be true, chances are it probably is. If an item is priced much lower than it normally is, it could mean the item is counterfeit or the website isn’t legitimate. Fake e-commerce sites are becoming increasingly common. To help mitigate the risk, check out reviews of the site from multiple sources. 

Create strong passwords

More than a few of us are guilty of using the same password without changing it frequently (if at all). But, in order to help protect yourself when shopping online, you should create a unique password—one that avoids using personal details like a pet’s name. There are plenty of password generators available online that will help you create a password that’s tougher to crack. Create a unique password for each website, rather than recycling the same password for every online shopping site. 

Check your financial statements 

While there are steps you can take to shop online safely, it’s also a good idea to check your bank statements after purchasing items online. Mydoh makes it easy to track your spending – log in to the app and check your purchases under “spend.”

What should you do if they think they’ve been scammed online?

If you think you’ve been scammed online and you paid by credit card, you may be able to dispute the charges with the credit card company. Depending on the financial institution, credit card users typically have between 30 to 60 days to do so. Your parents can also help you report fraudulent or suspicious activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) through their website or by calling 1-888-495-8501. If you think you’ve been scammed, be sure to change your passwords.

How can you keep yourself safe online? 

Whether it’s your first time or 50th time online shopping, here are some things to consider before adding an item to your shopping cart:

  • Look for the security symbol, such as a key or padlock, on the website 
  • Create strong, unique passwords when buying online
  • Question “too good to be true” deals
  • Research reviews of the site or product before providing your payment details
  • Check for hidden fees, such as expensive shipment costs, before submitting a payment
  • Don’t click on suspicious links or text messages 
  • Don’t save payment information to a site

How Mydoh can help you shop online safely

The Mydoh app and Smart Cash Card can help kids and teens shop online safely. Your Smart Cash Card can be used anywhere Visa or Apple Pay is accepted. Plus your Smart Cash Card can be locked from within the Mydoh app.

Download Mydoh today!

7 Money Saving Tips For Families

At a time when costs seem to keep rising, Canadian families are looking for ways to cut corners in their budget. Here are seven ways to involve your kids and teens in trimming your spending, without sacrificing family fun. 

1.   Get a library card

If you don’t already have one, sign yourself—and your kids—up for a library card. As well as saving on the cost of buying books, you can rent all sorts of cool things. Did you know larger libraries rent out everything from hockey skates to musical instruments to museum passes? If you live in Toronto, you can get a free family pass to the Toronto Zoo or the ROM, while families in Ottawa can visit the Candian Museum of Nature. 

2.   Go thrifting

Chances are you won’t have to twist your teen’s arm to swap a trip to the mall with hitting up a thrifting store. Not only is thrifting usually better for your budget, it’s also better for the planet! Second-hand stores are a great place to find designer brands for less, as well as decor, toys, and appliances.

Read more: 10 tips to thrift like a pro

3.   Streamline your subscriptions

How many subscription services are you paying for? According to a recent survey, the average Canadian has eight recurring subscriptions, which could mean hundreds of dollars a year. Take a look at the subscriptions you are paying for and decide where you can cut back. If your family is paying for two, three, or four streaming services, decide where you can cut back. Mydoh is also saving Canadian families from one more subscription cost by removing our monthly fee. Not only does this make it a little easier for all families to learn about financial literacy, but it puts a bit of change back into your pocket.

4.   Save on groceries

It’s not your imagination, grocery prices were expected to keep rising in 2024 and it’s expected a family of four will spend around $16,297.20 this year – ouch! From figuring out what to make for dinner, to pleasing everyone’s tastes, to budgeting for groceries, feeding your family can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be. Save money by meal planning, buying in bulk, comparing prices, and batch cooking. Involve your kids in making dinner; it’ll save you time and give them the practical skills they’ll need when they’re older.

Read more: Tips for saving money on family meals

5.   Give your kids an allowance

How does giving your kids an allowance help the family budget? Hear us out! If it’s in your family budget, paying your kids a weekly allowance could help keep your family budget on track while also giving kids the tools they need to learn to manage their own money. Talk to your kids and teens about what you expect them to pay for with their allowance. This way, they can decide whether to spend it on candy, a new video game or yet another hoodie instead of turning to the Bank of Mom and Dad to cover the costs.

Read more: What’s the best allowance method for kids and teens?

6.   Party on a budget

Birthdays can become big-ticket items, especially if you don’t start with a budget. If the idea of hosting a party at home fills you with dread, look for cheaper (or free) venues, like a local park or community hall. DIY food and have kids make their own pizza, set up a taco station, or decorate their own cupcake. Choose a theme and get creative with the decorations or a craft activity. Hiring teens to help wrangle kids or organize old school games, like musical chairs, can be another way to save on costs.

Read more: Prom budgeting tips for teens.

7.   Have a no spend challenge

Exactly like it sounds, a no spend challenge is where your family agrees to not spend money. Challenge yourselves to one day of cooking food you already have at home, and finding free activities you can do together; whether that’s a bike ride, visiting a free museum or local attraction, or hosting a games day. The pros of a no spend challenge is it can help kids and teens recognize the difference between wants and needs, as well as practice delayed gratification—even if it’s for one day!

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for kids and teens.