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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Scammed! Scammed! Scammed!

It finally happened to me. I got scammed with an online purchase last night. I should have known better but I let my guard down and unscrupulous people took advantage of me.

People often tell me that they are afraid to make an online purchase with a credit card. I have had no fears. I have bought two cars online. I regularly find good deals on purchases from many reputable companies who give me more communication and service the purchase better than the local big box stores. I have been purchasing online for nearly ten years and haven't regretted a purchase until now.

I needed a new operating system for a computer I am building. I looked at some older versions of Windows and even played around with using Xandros but settled on Windows XP. The programs I already use are compatible with XP and I just didn't want the learning curve.

I thought I found the best deal in the world at $54 for the Pro version. The computer hung on the purchase screen. It said, "Our Online Purchasing is Secure." I, then, noticed that the site was absolutely not secure. (The little http:// needs to have an "s" at the end for a secure site.) I backed out of the site as quickly as possible. I googled the company name and found numerous complaints and shady business practices. If I ever receive the software (It may be coming from Pakistan!) it will probably be pirated.

So, I called my credit card company right away to stop the transaction. The scam software company had already completed the deal with my credit card. (They had plenty of time since I had to go through the complete credit card voice menu before I could talk with someone.) I have sixty days to file a dispute with my credit card company. Visa told me that there is nothing they can do right now. I have to get the software and send it back. Of course, I read how others had been scammed. They said that the software doesn't come for weeks, if at all. By then, the company may be out of business and I will be out of luck.

I have wondered if I should cancel that credit card. Scamming is just another way of stealing. Why wouldn't they sell my credit card number to others? They have all the information they need to continue to make purchases.

Be careful when you make online purchases. Check out the company before making a purchase. Read everything others have written about that company. One disgruntled customer does not make a bad reputation. However, when all you read is bad. . . . Notice whether or not you are making the purchase on a secure site. Check the product you have received to see if it is legitimate. (If I ever receive the software, I will be checking with Microsoft to see if it is pirated.)

And, remember, if it seems to good to be true . . . well, yeah, I already knew that too!

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