Christmas is one of the most anticipated and exciting holidays of the year. Another year has passed and it’s time for family, friends, feasting, and shopping to begin! Yes, this is a very tempting season to spend spend spend and almost everybody falls into temptation, including tech lovers looking for the newest, the most fun, and interesting gadgets.
But to truly feel the Christmas spirit is a double-edged sword! On the one hand you feel great, but on the other, sometimes you let your guard down in critical decisions, and you stop controlling the purse strings smartly. And unfortunately, plenty of Scrooges and Grinches come along with the holidays; all kinds of scammers are always chasing potential victims, and they can really ruin the fun.
Check out the eight biggest tech mistakes people make at Christmas, and learn how to avoid them!
1. Falling for a scam
A scam is any deceptive trick, scheme, or fraudulent business implemented to cheat, in order to get money, or any other good from victims – and Christmas means a big chance to cheat for the scammers!
Christmas e-cards, coupons, vouchers, etc
During the holidays, gifting e-cards, coupons, vouchers, etc is popular. Sometimes you must click links or images that direct you to a website where personal data or even bank card details to make those gifts valid are requested. Watch out! Phishing attacks can really harm your finances.
Online shopping fraud
People look for Christmas presents, so fraudulent websites appear offering attractive products with competitive prices or promotions; bank details are entered without hesitation but the products never arrive.
During Christmas, scammers demand solidarity and generosity. The whole year, but especially now, they try to touch your heart and pull at your emotions with all sorts of fake stories about people in need, just to steal your wallet.
Bidding is exciting, but some online auctions are fake with some sellers offering non-existent products, that won’t be delivered to the buyer. Sellers based overseas or private individuals also can take advantage if you don’t demand warranties.
Christmas is an emotional season. Your happiness and celebratory mood can be abused by scammers. Through emotional weak points such as loneliness, sadness and melancholy, scammers become the perfect soulmates via chat. They get your trust and convince you to transfer them money.
Social media scams
Scammers use social media to reach victims. People share and click links without being careful. Besides, these networks allow scammers to contact you directly for malicious purposes.
The West Yorkshire Police identifies at least 12 Christmas scams to be aware of. The good news is they are avoidable if you follow safe practices. Don’t let scammers ruin your holidays!
2. Buy low-quality gadgets
To save money and to buy smart is great! But don’t get confused. To deliberately buy low-quality gadgets can cost you more. Unknown brands usually don’t offer warranties to protect consumers. Products turn out to easily break, they have a very short life span, and frequently, there’s no way to find spare parts. If you are really tempted to buy a product from an unkown brand, at least search for other users’ reviews. Frequently, people write more reviews driven by disappointment or anger, than when they have a positive experience.
But in general, talking about technology, amazingly cheap prices offered by unknown companies or sellers can be signs to not buy!
3. Trusting on fake discounts
Many tech lovers save during the year to buy expensive gadgets, electronics, gaming items, etc. on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or later for Christmas. Obviously, they hope to get a good discount, but fake discounts are a common practice in many shops. Sometimes sellers put even higher prices, but with a Santa Claus or a cute reindeer smiling at you.
Don’t be fooled! Always – but especially if you are going to buy expensive products – check the price of the product before these dates. To follow this good practice, there are websites for checking the price change over time, so you don’t make this tech mistake. Don’t blindly trust a sneaky reindeer’s smile!
4. Connect to the free Wi-Fi at the airport, bus, or train station
Christmas holidays are anything but relaxing. People fill their diaries with a long list of events – which is great – but it can push you to rush and make last-minute decisions. To buy online, or check your messages from public connections can be too risky. Hackers easily access such connections, and therefore, your device! Once there, they can infect it with malware, and have free rein over your information. If they get your passwords, they could log in to personal accounts, even your bank account. Don’t let them steal your savings to buy their own Christmas presents! Keep the golden rule of using secure connections, and VPN (a virtual private network) every time you share your sensitive data.
5. Overloading the electrical installation with Christmas lights
When you decorate your home and tree with fairy lights for Christmas, the more the merrier, right? Nope! Big mistake! Whilst they totally ignite the Christmas spirit, but they can ignite much more and become a fire hazard! Commonly, people buy those that are powerful, have thousands of light programs, and can be managed through a mobile app, but they barely read the technical description available on the package, the tag, or the plug on the light cord. To know if the amperage rating is adequate for your electrical installation is a must!
The amps point to the number of lights or devices a circuit can endure without overloading its circuit breaker. The recommendation is to not push a circuit over eighty percent. Standard household electrical outlets (per fuse or circuit breaker) go from 15 to 20 amps. If you live in the USA (110V) this will be 110V*20A*80%(recommendation)=2200W(wats)*0.8=1760W per fuse or in Europe (220V) will be 220V*20A*80%=4400W*0.8=3520W. The proper calculation can make your home bright without risk!
6. Buy incompatible items
Checking compatibility before buying tech gifts totally matters to evade tech mistakes! A tech toy can be a great surprise for your giftee, or a burden if it’s not compatible. Let’s consider compatibility in two levels, the technical side of the gift, and the recipient.
Many interesting things can sound like great Christmas gifts. But to give an Apple Watch to an Android phone user doesn’t make much sense. Its use will be extremely limited. The nice features of Amazon Echo will mean nothing for a nonAmazon fan. The best-wired headphones will disappoint a user of a modern phone that doesn’t have a headphone jack anymore. Best case, buying an extra dongle to go from Lightning or a USB Type-C plug to a 3.5 mm audio connection can fix the situation, but it still means the gift is not usable right out of the box and extra steps and cost for your giftee. A useful graphics tablet incompatible with your Chrome OS will be pointless. Are you willing to buy a Windows computer to use your new tablet?
If you really want a nice experience from the tech purchase, don’t neglect compatibility.
7. Not reading the manuals
That new tablet you waited weeks for is finally in your hands! You cannot wait to start using it! It has USB Type-C, so not to “waste” time unpacking the charger, you assume the charger of your mobile can work. The big issue is USB type-C can supply 5 volts, 9 volts, 12 volts, or 18 volts! A higher voltage than the specificied one can instantly kill (burn) the device!
Yes, manuals can be boring, but they prevent tragedies. Modern gadgets and electronics are intuitive, but it’s not a rule. Besides, through online shopping, you can buy stuff from different countries and this can mean important technical differences, and the only way to be aware is to read the manual.
Manuals also describe what not to do with your devices to keep them working properly. Better to know that in advance than to learn it while trying and making a tech mistake – it could void the warranty! Service details, warranty conditions, and the complete list of accessories that must be included are other essential information you shouldn’t miss.
8. Not to get acquainted with “Terms and conditions” of products and services
Promotions or discounts sometimes only apply during a short period of time. After this period finishes, the service fee can double or more. Products can have a very poor warranty if they break or fail. Dishonest sellers don’t inform or disclose such important things face to face, so it won’t put you off making the purchase.
Terms and conditions also can be boring to read. But not doing it can drive you to unnecessary dead ends. You must understand exactly what you can and cannot expect when you buy a product or service. Not detecting fine prints on time can mean not being aware of extra costs, renewal price subscriptions, the period for discounts, promotions, or warranties, cancellation, refund, security and privacy policies, etc. This document is legal protection for both businesses, and consumers.
Being aware of the biggest tech mistakes people make during Christmas will save your holidays! The holly jolly feelings the season awakens can go along perfectly with safe practices, and well-thought through purchasing decisions. We wish you the best time with your loved ones. Enjoy feasting and shopping! Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
Since we are still in a holiday mood, let’s see another tech topic, quite festive as well: