Date:         Sat, 29 Apr 2000 18:15:02 -0500
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
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Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen

From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
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              TOURBUS Volume 5, Number 87 -- 29 April 2000
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    Online Credit Card Safety / Lowerbound
Howdy, y'all, and greetings from the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home
of the first Mercedes-Benz automotive manufacturing facility in the US
(I bet you didn't know THAT)!  :)
TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  I thank
the folks at "," "," and ""
for making today's post possible.  As always, please visit our
wonderful sponsors and thank them for keeping the bus rolling!
+-------------- TURN YOUR COMPUTER HOBBY INTO CASH! ---------------+
  If new technology's got you psyched imagine how cool it would be
  if you could make your hobby PAY!  What if someone said that you
  can earn extra income just by sharing your enthusiasm with others.
  You can when you become a Technology Consultant.

+----------  AT LAST, YOU CAN MAKE YOUR MOTHER HAPPY  ----------+
Looking for a really special Mother's Day gift?  Try one of the
candies at  Choose calissons from
Provence, nougat from Montelimar or papillotes from Lyon.  Or try the
gift box with candies from 10 traditional French confectioners.  Also
available are French classics like bouillabaisse, duck confit and
snails, as well as hard-to-find regional specialties like rillettes
and tapenade.
+------------------[ ]------------------+
On with the show ...
I'm going to let you in on two of the best-kept secrets on the Net:
      1. Buying computer hardware online has never been easier.  [By
         the way, "hardware" is just a fancy way of saying "computer
         stuff you can touch," and it includes things such as your
         keyboard, your monitor, your computer's case, your computer's
         memory, and so on.]
      2. Purchasing something online with a credit card, especially a
         Visa or American Express card, has never been safer.
Before we get to that first secret, let's take a quick moment to talk
about the second.  Despite what you may have heard from your friends
and neighbors, if you live in the United States and purchase something
online (or off) with a Visa or American Express card and someone
steals your credit card number, you will not be held responsible for
ANY of the resulting unauthorized charges.  You pay NOTHING!  No
US$50.00 "deductible," no "security surcharges" ... NOTHING!
To find out more about Visa's (new) zero liability policy, point your
Web browser to 
While Visa's policy is new, American Express has had a zero liability
policy for several years now.  You can read more about it at .
What if you live outside of the United States or if you use a credit
card other than a Visa or American Express card?  Are you also
protected?  To be completely honest, I'm not sure.  Contact your
credit card issuer and ask them to send you a copy of their online
fraud policies.
By the way, for tips on how to protect yourself and your credit card
information online, take a look at the Better Business Bureau's
"Shopping Online" page at 
or the American Bar Association's Safe Shopping site at .
Now that we have learned that it isn't as dangerous to use our credit
cards online as we have been led to believe, let's whip out our credit
cards and start buying stuff with reckless abandon!  (I'M KIDDING!)
Actually, before we start charging stuff online, let's see if we can
save us a little money.  For those who are playing our home game, here
are a few of the money-saving sites we have talked about in the past:
      Even Better
      Key in the book, movie, or audio recording you are looking for;
      tell EvenBetter your location and the currency you will be using
      to pay for your purchases; and EvenBetter shows you how much each
      of over a dozen different online merchants will charge you to
      ship that product to your door ... including shipping!  [One word
      of warning: purchasing books online hurts your local economy.
      Your town has a WONDERFUL, locally owned bookstore.  They'd
      appreciate your business much more than Amazon or B&N would.]
      Flamingo World and Amazing Bargains
      Most online merchants offer insider discounts -- $10 off a $20
      order, free shipping, and so on -- so long as you have a special
      code.  Both of these sites give you those codes.
Well, I have another site you can add to your list of money-saving
sites: LowerBound at 
If you have tried to purchase computer hardware lately, you've
probably discovered that there are about a squillion different
hardware retailers on the Web, each selling the same products at
wildly different prices.  For example, I am extremely interested in
purchasing an SGI 1600SW flat panel monitor (even though NO ONE at SGI
has returned by phone calls or emails in three months!).  One retailer
in New York is selling the monitor for US$2,607.99 (EEK!); another
retailer in California is selling it for $2,098.35 (EEK!).  That's a
pretty significant difference.
Wait.  It gets worse.
Most Net gurus realize that instead of having to visit the Web site of
each hardware retailer to find the best prices, they can turn to sites
like and that collect price lists from
various online retailers and make them available to the public in an
organized format, sorted from least expensive to most expensive.  The
bad news is that there are SIXTEEN of these Pricewatch-esque sites out
there.  To guarantee that you get the absolute best price for the
computer hardware you are looking for, you have to visit SIXTEEN
Uh, no!
That's where Lowerbound comes in.  Lowerbound searches ALL of the
hardware price comparison sites for you -- Pricewatch, Bottomdollar,
Shopper, and so on.  Lowerbound is kind of the Dogpile of hardware
price comparison engines.  Specify the hardware item you want and
Lowerbound tells you where to go to find the absolute best price on
that item.  Cool, huh?
My only complaint about Lowerbound is that while they let you search
for the best prices on almost every type of computer hardware
imaginable -- motherboards, processors, memory, hard drives, and so on
-- they don't (yet) let you search for the best prices on computer
monitors, keyboards, or scanners.  This is a serious omission.
Still, if you are looking for the best prices on any other type of
computer hardware, Lowerbound is an absolute godsend.
That's it for this week!  Have a safe and happy weekend, and we'll
talk again in a few days.  :)
    Online Credit Card Safety / Lowerbound
SAHDIDY (noun).  The day on which most of Patrick's "Thursday" posts
are actually sent out.  :P
Usage: "So, whatcha doin Sahdidy night?"
[Special thanks go to J. Ray Bobo for today's word]
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 
The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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TOURBUS - 29 APR 00 - ONLINE CREDIT CARD SAFETY  /  LOWERBOUND, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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