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5 tech things that are a waste of money

5. Crowdfunded pre-orders

I admit it’s fun to browse Kickstarter and IndieGoGo projects. You’ll find all sorts of gizmos-in-the-making, with clever videos and enthusiastic descriptions. The breadth of imagination is inspiring, especially when some tinker solves a problem you didn’t even know you had. Pre-ordering a new piece of technology can feel exciting and cutting-edge.

So it pains me to dissuade you from doing this. Supporting a crowd-sourced project is a total gamble. Even if the under-funded inventor meets his goal, backers have no idea how he’ll spend the money. There’s no particular accountability.

An infamous example was Central Standard Timing, which raised $1 million on Kickstarter to manufacture the “world’s thinnest watch.” The company failed, and many critics believed it was a scam. But backers didn’t feel they had any recourse. How do you expect to receive a pre-ordered item if the company goes under? How can you check up on the entrepreneurs if you don’t really know who they are?

If you want to donate to a worthy cause, you’re better off finding an established, well-run, charitable organization or scholarship program. Now that is money well spent.

How else can you protect yourself from digital danger? Be sure to listen or download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

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