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How to Buy Stuff Online Without Getting Scammed

How to Buy Stuff Online Without Getting Scammed

Fifty years ago, science fiction writers predicted that in future we would be able to just press a button in order to buy something, pay for it, and have it delivered—all without getting out of our chair. Now it seems that we are already living in this future.

Up to a point, that is. The problem is, human nature never changes. Yes, people have developed new and amazing ways to do business. But they’ve also figured out new and fascinating ways of swindling you out of your hard-earned money.

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We all know how to buy stuff online, but we don’t always know how to avoid getting scammed. Dealing with internet fraud after the fact is hard, expensive, and can even involve hiring a lawyer experienced like Joe Tacopina. But it is far easier to avoid fraud in the first place. Here are a few tips on how to do it.

1. Take reviews with a grain of salt

When you are going to buy stuff online, it’s a good idea to look at some reviews. But be ready to separate the wheat from the chaff. At least some reviews are going to be more or less blatant promotions. Look for reviews that have substantial evidence behind them: research, analysis, and statistics from different sources. For example, take this series of gold dealer reviews. The author comes to a certain conclusion, but his argumentation is absolutely transparent.

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2. Check the e-commerce platform

Make sure the shop you are dealing with is using one of the well-respected e-commerce platforms. It doesn’t make you 100% secure from fraud, but the risk is much less than if you buy from an independent store using a self-made shop script.

3. Follow the crowd

Online shopping is one of the activities where getting off the beaten path isn’t usually a very good idea. If a lot of people go to a certain place to buy certain things, it usually means that it is the best place to get them. Of course, some things are unique or hard to find and can only be bought at specific stores. But the more general your needs are, the less you should consider dealing with small and obscure sites. So, if you are after books, go to Amazon. If you want games, visit Steam. If you want to find individual people selling all kinds of stuff, use eBay.

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4.  Compare prices before buying

The simplest way to do this is to use comparison shopping engines. Stick to the largest and best-known of them: they collect information from more shops and thus present more objective information. In addition to prices, you may find out more about stores and products in question, which will help you understand whether the price tag is justified.

5. Find ways to spend less

Coupons and promotions immediately come to mind. However, they are inconvenient if you have to keep track of them on your own. It is better to use a service like Yipit to find what you need at the moment.

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6. Know when to shop offline

There are cases when, no matter what your preferences are, it is still wiser to shop offline. For example, there are groups of products that are not very well suited for being bought remotely, like clothing and perfumes—in other words, goods that are too difficult to judge without seeing them in person. Clothes may be the wrong size, the perfume may not smell exactly how remember you remember. It’s better to find that out before you actually pay for the product.

It’s easy and fun to buy stuff online, but you should always keep your bases covered. After all, you cannot be too careful.

Featured photo credit: Internet open via flickr.com

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Melissa Burns

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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