We have done a lot in the past few days. We've identified a lot of potential gifts for everyone, and now the only thing left to do is to purchase them and get them to our loved ones. I'm going to give everyone a bit of a heads up when it comes to shopping on line. There are a couple of rules that I follow when I purchase stuff on line, and they've served me well over the past few years; and I want to make certain that everyone practices "safe shopping."
That being said, let's briefly review what we've covered so far
- Computer Buyer's Guide Part 1 – Computer Hardware
- Computer Buyer's Guide Part 2 – Computer Software
- Computer Buyer's Guide Part 3 – Cool Gadgets & Electronics
- Computer Buyer's Guide Part 4 – Digital Cameras for All
We've figured out what we want to buy; but not (necessarily) where we want to buy it. Let's figure out where to get our stuff!
Be Consistent = Be Safe
You’ll notice that I included a number of product/purchasing links in the articles that I posted for this year’s Buyer’s Guide. These are not necessarily the links that YOU might prefer and/or feel comfortable using. They should, however, at least give you an idea of how much you’ll spend on the item in question, as well as tax and shipping, if applicable. The biggest thing that you need to understand however, is that being safe is being consistent.
Only purchase items from online vendors you feel comfortable with. When you do purchase, don’t purchase from sites you’re unfamiliar with, or seem a bit strange to you. Only purchase from sites that are in your country of residence. Purchasing something from overseas may not be the best way to go if you’re in the US, and vice-versa. International shipping is problematic at best during NON-holiday times. Ordering items from an international vendor during the Holiday Season is just asking for trouble. This is usually most clearly evident with international eBay Stores. Just say, “no.” I don’t care how the rare or difficult the item might be.
During the Holiday’s its best if you stick to the major vendor sites. Some specialty sites are ok, as long as you’ve dealt with them before, have seen items advertised there before, have had close friends or relatives that you trust purchase from them, etc. Now is not the time to buy from someplace new and untrusted. I recommend the following sites (in no particular order):
There are obviously, a great deal more major vendor sites out there than the ones that I’ve mentioned. The idea is to stay on the well beaten path. Buying direct from a vendor you trust is also fine. For example, buying a Slide HD directly from Flip is a decent idea, especially, if you don’t like the tax or shipping terms you’re getting from other sites.
Keep the Private Stuff Private
Protect your credit cards. Protect your identity. Protect your credit.
Unless you KNOW that you know that the site you’re purchasing from won’t sell your personal data, really IS secure, and hasn’t had a data breach in the past couple of years, don’t store your credit card data with that site. You’re just asking for your money/credit/good name/life to get stolen if you do. Enter in the data for each purchase. Yes. I know… and you’re right. Entering in the numbers, your address, etc. each and every time, for each and every purchase, is and can be, a huge pain the ass.
If a little inconvenience like that is too much to put up with to keep your information from some dork in Nigeria (or other country where a great deal of scamming is going on) looking to use your hard earned cash to fund his/her bon-bon eating, Oprah watching habits, then don’t come cryin’ to me. The best thing you can do to keep your money and credit safe while shopping on line is to
- Keep your cards with you (or in a secure place) at all times,
- Only shop at encrypted, trusted sites you’re comfortable with
- Forget convenience – enter in your data at each checkout
If your identity is stolen or compromised,
- Call your bank immediately. Have them put watches on your accounts; and order new credit/debit cards
- Call your credit card issuers immediately. Cancel your existing cards and have them reissue new ones
- If your SS card was also stolen, call the SSA and inform them. They may advise you to get a new SSN.
When it comes to Holiday shopping on line, better safe than sorry. I’m just sayin’…