Buying stuff online has become commonplace for many people. For many others, it's a scary and daunting proposition. I get asked quite regularly if buying stuff online is really safe. Well, that depends on how you do it. Consider buying stuff online along the same lines as buying stuff "not" online. If you go to a recognized retailer, you buy your things and you leave. If you have a problem with something you bought, there's a very good chance you can return it for a replacement or refund. If you buy something at a thrift store, or a yard sale, chances are good that all sales are final. You save a bunch of money buying used goods, but you take the chance they haven't been "too" used.
The same principle applies online, to an extent. Retailers now offer their goods online, so buying from them is usually a safe way to go. Buying stuff on Ebay can save a lot of money, but there's always the chance it's garbage, or even worse - there's the chance you never get the product you order.
When dealing on Ebay, I always look for sellers who have lots of sales, and a very high satisfaction rating. Typically, if a seller's rating is less than 95%, I'll order elsewhere.
Also, when dealing with Ebay, I always pay with PayPal. If you don't have a PayPal account and you want to order stuff online, you might want to consider getting a prepaid credit card, just for online orders. Only put on the card the amount you'll need to complete a given transaction. That way, if you do get scammed, you can be reasonably sure that's all they can get. The reason I like PayPal is that all your Ebay purchases are automatically insured against fraud. If you don't get your order, or if your order isn't what the seller said it would be, you can contact PayPal and get your money back. It may take a while, but at least you get it back.
Lots of people don't like giving out their credit card number online, so a prepaid card AND PayPal is a good combination. Also, look for sites that use high encryption levels. Minimum levels to look for are 128 bit encryption. Even that can be hacked (a very long, tedious process), but it takes a great effort, and the sites using that level of encryption are typically insured against these types of losses.
Thanks for reading! Hope this helps you with your next computer purchase.
Until next week, I'm Computer Dave
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