Safer Holiday Shopping

by | Dec 5, 2019

The big day comes, and before you know it, you may have a handful of new electronics in the household; game consoles, tablets, smartphones, smart home accessories, and more. Now what? In an earlier post this year, we discussed the importance of deciding upon your computer platform (Google, Apple, Microsoft) to make your life simpler. Now let’s focus on the best practices once you open the package.

  1. Always audit that what you received is what you intended to purchase. It’s easy to get mixed up, especially if a family member who is not comfortable with technology or terminology is doing the buying.
  2. Securely document the details for easy future access. For example, Microsoft XBOX One, 1 TB Storage, Costco, December 1, 2019, for $499, S/N: MXM142B789Q1, Support: 1-800-GET-HELP. If and when you ever need support or warranty repair, having this information handy is priceless.
  3. Consider downloading any manuals or other collateral so that you have it while it’s current. Sometimes it’s challenging to find details on what was purchased, even just six months later. Many manufacturers even have apps that you can download to help manage this for you.
  4. Always register your product. By registering your product, you are establishing your warranty date as well as ensuring that you do not have a counterfeit product. And yes, I usually “opt-out” of any marketing or needless email choices.
  5. Perform any updates to the current revision. This is very important; by taking care of this in the very beginning, you may avoid some problems that an update has already solved. If you have time, this can even be done before the device is wrapped, so that Christmas morning, it’s ready to go!
  6. Lastly, change any and all built-in admin passwords. IoT exploits are a huge target because very few people take this step. You may have seen recently that your SmartTV may be watching you—largely due to consumers not changing built-in admin accounts.

Yes, all of these steps take some time to do initially. On the backend, however, when you’re trying to troubleshoot 15 months down the road, you’ll be happy that you took the time.