-- For those lucky enough to unwrap some hot tech toys this Christmas, here is a roundup of what you need to know to get your new gadgets to work, and to make sure they're properly protected.
To get started using these devices, you will need to download the accompanying app to set these devices up and connect them to your Wi-Fi. If you want to tie in any smart home devices like Wi-Fi-connected thermostats, speaker systems, lighting or even vacuum cleaners, you will also need to link your accounts for those devices and enable “skills” to control them with the voice assistant.
While not difficult, it does take some time. I linked five different accounts or devices and it took me approximately two hours. Also, if you have kids in the house I strongly recommend putting a passcode on the "Buy by Voice" feature so your kids don’t purchase a fidget spinner on your Amazon or Google shopping account without your knowledge (I wouldn’t be speaking from experience, my darling son would never do something like that!). Speaking of 9-year-old boys, be prepared for the endless game of “Alexa, tell me a joke.”
Virtual reality devices
What to know about insurance
How to trade in your old stuff
Those gadgets can be a source of easy money though. I recommend using a service like Gazelle or NextWorth, which will pay for your shipping and give you cash for that old laptop, phone or iPod. Act soon, because the value of that gear will only diminish the longer you wait.
Register gift cards
It’s a bit complicated, but gift card fraud happens when a card is activated for a gift, and scammers manage to then drain all the money off of it.
The best way to fight this fraud is to use the gift card right away or at the very least go to the online retailer where the card can be redeemed and register it. While this doesn’t work for every store, it is a good option for popular places like iTunes or the Google Play store, who put a credit in your account.