Everyone knows the importance of staying safe online, especially when money is changing hands. But certain items are more at risk than others. Well-known and in-demand quality BMX parts tend to attract fraudsters in their droves, as they try to make a quick buck.
I can’t be the only person who has paid top prices for a so-called ‘genuine’ BMX part, only to find that it was a cheap replica, worth a fraction of the cost. All BMX riders are going to need new parts over time, and there are hundreds of low quality options online, all claiming to offer quality, authenticity, and value for money.
So if you are buying BMX parts online on a regular basis, how do you know who you can trust?
Follow my quick guide for advice on protecting yourself from fraud, identity theft and rip-off merchants.
1. Know your parts
If you know exactly what it is you are looking for, you are in a much stronger position to find honest bargains and avoid fraudulent deals online. Know your BMX products inside and out, so that the slightest discrepancy in a product description really stands out.
Not suitable for BMX racing:
Suitable for BMX racing:
2. Invest in good anti-virus software
There are some good free anti-virus programmes out there, but if you are buying and selling on a regular basis online, you should probably invest in one or more hardcore programmes. Shop around to find the best one for your needs. Good anti-virus software will alert you if your IP address is being hacked, protect your payment details, ban pop-up ads, and alert you if you have stumbled onto a known fraud site.
3. Consider credit deals
If you are buying an expensive part, consider paying for it with a credit card or in instalments. As well as delaying or dividing the initial cost, credit deals put you in a position where you can stop or cancel payments at any time – for instance, if the part you have bought is not up to standard.
Sign up for an Experian credit check to find out your credit rating; the better your rating, the better the credit deals that will be available to you.
Running a credit check will benefit you in the long term as well – once you have a good credit rating you can start investing in high value items like a new bike, the latest cycling wear or a trip to the WK BMX World Championships, for instance.
4. Ask questions
The chances are, anyone who is selling BMX bike parts is going to know a fair bit about BMX bikes. This is especially true when they are selling pre-owned parts or refurbished bikes. Ask questions in order to make sure that the person you are dealing with is legit and find out as much as you possibly can about the history of the parts.
Make sure that ‘brand new’ Redline doesn’t actually look like this:
5. Be sensible
If a deal seems too good to be true – it probably is. Don’t be fooled by an unmissable bargain and never give your payment details to a vendor you don’t trust. If you really think you have spotted an incredible deal, but feel a bit iffy about the vendor, use a pay after delivery service which offers some protection against phantom items.