The convenience of online shopping can be appealing, but that ease comes at the risk of being taken advantage of by dishonest vendors.
Often stolen electronics can make their way online, but there are ways to safeguard yourself from buying hot computers.
When shopping online, be sure to always read reviews. Not only should the reviews and ratings be positive, they should be recent.
“Make sure that the reviews are recent and not that someone has taken over someone’s account and used their previous good record to try and look legitimate,” warned Michele Mason of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama.
Another red flag to lookout for is purchasing method. It’s best to avoid vendors that want you to pay by money order or Green Dot Pre-Paid cards. They leave no paper trail, and if you get ripped off, the seller can’t be found.
The most secure way to purchase is by credit card. PayPal also offers secure purching, holding your money until the vendor ships your item.
If you feel uneasy about a product’s legitimacy before you buy, ask the seller for the serial number.
“If this is a safe transaction that person shouldn`t have any reason why they wouldn`t share that information. But if they start canceling the transaction that`s going to tell you there was a problem and you`re going to be glad they backed out of the deal,” said Mason.
If after you receive a purchase something doesn’t seem right, you can always check the serial number with police to find out if you purchased a stolen computer.