15 October 2017

Don't Get Scammed This Christmas 2017

What helps you stay informed and happy in your purchasing decisions? Do you stick with a chosen retailers products? A chosen manufacturer? Is there a salesman at the local store who you have trusted for years? Or, like many people, do you float on the online marketplaces worrying about what to acquire each season through pure choice alone? Do you feel worried about acquiring products at the correct price?

When it comes to purchasing products online for Christmas, the sheer choices open to you can worry you from the start. How do you know if you’re buying the right product at the right price from the right vendor? How do you know you haven’t been scammed this Christmas period, a time when money is tight in the first place?

Well, there are a number of ways you can be more informed about your purchasing decisions, and a few attitudes to keep to help you identify and prevent a scam. It would be instructive to teach your elderly relatives about this as well, as often they are less well versed in the climate of the internet and how to navigate it.

Luckily, a number of these tips are also compatible with high-street purchases, so the wisdom you find in this article can help you in many avenues.

Assess Your Computer Security

This time of year is where the most online activity takes place in online marketplaces, and for that reason scammers, hackers and people with negative intent are the most active. Make sure that you’re able to resist their attempts to compromise your financial security with a few easy, simple tips. First, make sure that you only visit online marketplaces which contain valid security certificates. You will be able to see this at the top of the internet browser you use. Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge keep the security certificate information clearly presented in the address bar, and it should look like a green lock or something similar. If you see this icon present, you can be sure that the webpage is encrypted and secure from hacking, and your information is strongly likely to stay protected.

This isn’t the only thing you should take care of though. You should also make sure that your antivirus software is available to protect against threats if you do by chance visit a webpage which is compromised. This way you can ignore phishing attempts with higher strength.

Another excellent method to keeping your computer secure is to type the websites you want to visit in Google before finding them for the first time. It’s easy to misspell a service name accidentally when typing the full address into the search bar. While that does give you a more direct result typed correctly, a mistype can take you to a service trying to gain the attention of people who do misspell. These websites can be dangerous, so make sure you use a search engine as a filter, which will always prioritize the most reputable and official link they can find, no matter what store you are looking for, and hopefully no matter how niche it is.

Get An Experts Opinion

It’s important that the products you purchase at Christmas are well reviewed and are liable to stand the test of time. No one wants to see the product they have gone to great effort to pay for and acquire break within a matter of weeks, or be apparently low-quality, especially when compared to other items on the market.

For this reason, an instructive way of knowing you’re choosing the right product could be through using a service like BPP - Best Products Pro. These expert reviewers will check out products from multiple varieties of industry, and present to you the best products to acquire. This can be much more reliable than consumer reviews because these services will often subject the products considered to various stress tests in order to determine lifespan, as well as comparing the product to a larger pool of similar products than a consumer could.

Consumer products, while valid, are sometimes not complete or trustworthy. Someone who has gone to the effort of paying a significant amount of money to acquire an item will often be interested in seeing the positive in said item, so they feel justified and wise about their purchase. Also, with independent and unverified consumer reviewers, you are never sure if the reviews are trustworthy, or if they’ve been paid. While this is relatively unlikely to occur, the possibility is definitely there, so it’s best to go with expert, unbiased reviewers with a greater pool of resources. This way, you can be sure every factor has been considered and taken care of.

Don’t Go Looking For The Cheapest Deal

Looking for the cheapest product can often lead you in directions which leave something to be desired. Online auction houses and user-based selling sites can sometimes present amazing deals, but sometimes, they can seem too good to be true. Scammers will often try and present products through these services and acquire your money before you find out that the product is defunct or unreliable.

While eBay uses Paypal and other security services to make sure both ends of the transaction are secure, other selling services aren’t as tightly run. Sites like Depop and Shpock, despite their convenience and versatility in items you can find, these are likely the services most likely to be stocked with people looking to make money from people unfamiliar with wise financial habits online.

Sometimes, spending a little more money on acquiring an item through reputable vendor can be worth it regarding security alone. This also gives you the potential of acquiring warranty for your items. If the product is broken or non-functional on Christmas day, you can refund or have the item repaired in no time. Sometimes acquiring a second-hand item in this way can separate you from support services such as these. During Christmas, there’s nothing worse than the presents you give and have spent time acquiring failing on the day they’re unwrapped. Shield yourself from this possibility by looking for the most valuable place to purchase, no matter the value of the item.

Purchase Breakdown Protection

Furthering this last point, the best way to make sure your items are covered for the future sometimes means purchasing breakdown protection. This could cost a little more depending on the product, but it’s usually intrinsically worth it. During the chaos of a family Christmas, accidentally causing damage to an item is possible. If you’re gifting your kid's expensive electronic items, you can never be sure they’ll handle the item with complete and total caution. While a product breaking doesn’t constitute the definition of a scam, you’ll certainly feel you’ve been slighted if the retailer tells you they can’t help you thanks to your unwillingness to previously purchase breakdown cover. For that reason, solving this issue before it becomes one is wise and advisable.

Check, Check, Check Auction Retailers

If you have decided to use a service like eBay to acquire your item, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guaranteed to have a positive experience. Scammers can exist in the form of people who are simply incompetent with their delivery methods, or their ability to transport the item to you in a timely fashion. For this reason, it’s a must to continually check on who you are purchasing the item from. How many reviews do they have? What do the reviews say? Does googling their username yield any complaints on other blogs or websites? How old is their account and what products have they been saying? What is their buying history like? Make sure you view all of this information before you put a bid in or buy an item, even if it’s close to the end of the auction listing.

By following these tips, you can be sure that the potential of being scammed is close to impossible.

Disclosure:  This is a contributed post.


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