Online Purchases, Know Some Basic Rules
There are currently several Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying electronics, digital cameras etc., online. “The E-Fencing of stolen Goods Online is the new Crime Frontier”
Here are a couple of things that you may want to consider before continuing the venture into the world of online shopping. Because competition between online businesses continues growing, the prices of products continue to go down, which is sometimes advantageous to consumers. Another benefit of online shopping is its convenience as opposed to the local electronics store. While online shopping offers several attractions, the most compelling of which allows consumers to browse through different stores and products with just a click of the mouse. Today’s online consumers are given more alternatives along with a plethora of different products all from the comfort of their home. Another distinct advantage is that consumers are given the opportunity to purchase items that may not be readily available in their local area stores. Consumers simply go to websites like eBay, Craigslist, Amazon etc., where they are able to easily buy from anywhere in the world 24/7.
A major disadvantage in buying online, which is not well known by everyone, revolves around the issues concerning online security and product integrity. Because of the low degree of risk associated with the selling of stolen goods online, the online revolution has created a new age ‘High Tech Criminal’. Along with that element also come crackers and hackers that are becoming more skilled and covert in their illegal actions. With the above as well as other associated risks, there are always risks of consumers’ sensitive information such as, personal and credit card details etc., being stolen and used fraudulently. As a result, more and more online stores have strived hard to put good security measures in place to assure their consumers of what they are ordering is not stolen and will in fact be delivered on-time as promised. Most of the major online retailers these days are trying to do their best to prevent ‘bad’ shopping experiences from happening however, they still have to operate with the understanding that, not all incidents can be prevented.
To give as an example, there are literally thousands of pieces of assorted cargo that is stolen each week by ‘Opportunity Thieves’ as well as very well organized and funded criminal gangs. These criminals have discovered that the best and most profitable avenue for turning their stolen goods into cash is to simply offer the goods for sale online. This avenue affords the criminal the ability to receive the highest return for their stolen products along with the least amount of risk for getting caught. Due in part to the huge proliferation of online Auction sites and Classified Ad services, criminals have discovered that the almost risk-free rewards for the e-fencing of their goods is but a mouse click away.
The number of people who are electing to shop online instead of visiting the local discount electronics stores is increasing by the second. Online shopping is quickly becoming an overnight trend that seems to be enjoying a tremendous amount of growth . However, what exactly are the ‘real’ advantages and disadvantages of purchasing new and ‘slightly used’ goods online vs visiting the local brick and mortar when the above is considered?
Although the above information paints what appears to be a bleak picture for the world of online shopping, there are in fact a couple of very simple rules to follow, some of which I will list below, that should help make the online shopping experience a pleasant one for the consumer.
1. ALWAYS demand that the seller provide you with the Make, Model and Serial numbers of the item you are considering purchasing PRIOR to paying for the item.
2. Always have the serial number checked to ensure the item has not been reported as lost or stolen by utilizing the services of the local police department or by using an online verification service.
3. Always pay for ALL purchases using a credit card. If you are purchasing new or ‘slightly used’ items from a seller listed on one of the popular classified ad services, always use a postal money order for payment but, ONLY AFTER you have verified the items lost/stolen status through one of the methods listed in #2 above.
Due diligence is the responsibility of the buyer and, always keep in mind the fact that, possession of stolen goods is a Felony in most States in the US and it does not matter weather or not you knew the item was stolen when you purchased it (just imagine giving a ‘gift’ of a stolen camera purchased online only to have the recipient arrested for possession of stolen property). If the price for the item sounds TOO GOOD to be true, it probably is!