Police Departments have recently started offering safe zones in their parking lots for the purpose of sales transactions like buying and selling items on Craigslist. These safe zones are video monitored and are within the vicinity of the police department to make buyers and sellers feel safer when exchanging money with strangers. These safe zones wouldn’t be necessary if there hadn’t been cases where Craigslist users had experienced danger or been duped by scammers. Taking precaution when using services like Craigslist is necessary.
Not all police departments are offering safe zones yet. In the meantime, we’ve put together a list of safety tips when using online resources like Craigslist to buy and sell items.
- Meet in a public- This may be the most obvious safety tip, however, more often than not, people still invite strangers to their home to buy and sell items, especially furniture. No one wants to load a heavy dresser into a truck and drive it to a local coffee shop, only to find out that the buyer isn’t interested once they’ve seen it in person. But is the convenience worth the safety risk? There are plenty of other public places that are video monitored, like big box store parking lots and quickie-mart parking lots. And remember to take well-lit, accurate photos so that potential buyers don’t feel mislead when they see the item in person.
- Bring a buddy- This tip is especially important when selling high value items, like cars and jewelry. Bring a family member or a friend with you when meeting someone in a public place. A criminal is less likely to attempt to harm you if you’re not alone.
- Tell someone where you’re going- This is not an alternative to bringing a buddy. Bring a buddy AND tell someone else where you will be going, and the name of the person you are going to be meeting. Should something happen to both you and your buddy, someone else knows where you were and who you were supposed to be with.
- Only exchange money and goods in person- Never wire funds, or accept payment online. Do not trust that a seller will ship your item to you. Shop within your local neighborhood Craigslist so that there is no reason a seller can’t meet you with the item in person.
- Trust your gut- This may be the most important tip of all. Everyone knows the feeling you get when you feel like you may be in danger. Listen to that feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. The worst thing that can happen is that your gut was wrong and you missed out on a sale. Your safety is more important.