Craigslist shopping has completely changed the way we consider person-to-person sales. Long gone are the days of posting ads in the newspaper and waiting around for people to call. Now anyone with an internet connection can post a classified ad on Craigslist to buy or sell practically anything.
This newfound convince has also given rise to newfound safety concerns. Scams, muggings, even assaults have become a worrisome threat that exists with shopping on Craigslist. From 2007 to 2015 there have been an estimated 86 murders that have involved Craigslist in some capacity. Now does that mean you should never use the service? Of course not. In November of 2016 alone there were over 80 Million ads and 50 Billion pageviews. Were all those people being robbed or assaulted?
The major takeaway should be to shop smarter when using Craigslist. In the larger picture, are you willing to risk your personal safety just to save a few bucks? Here we will highlight some of the best methods to make your Craigslist shopping experience much safer.
1). Meet someplace neutral and public (if possible)
There is a reason that in every spy movie people meet their adversary in a public location. It becomes much harder for someone to get away with stealing or hurting you when there are other people around to catch them in the act.
Here is a list of potential meeting spots
- Shopping Centers
- Police Stations (many police departments encourage this)
- Parking Lots (ideally not one that is desolate)
- Community Centers
- Post Offices
2). Google their provided contact information
Be sure to internet search their contact information, email addresses, phone numbers, or personal address. Its quite often that scammers use the same phone number or email address more than once. If you’re lucky others have submitted their information to scammer awareness websites.
With personal addresses, you can google their address to see if they appear on sex offender registry lists. I’ve seen where scammers use houses that are for sale or abandoned to scam people. Leaving the victim with a phony address for law enforcement.
3). Bring people with you
If you can’t meet at a neutral location because the item is hard to move or some logistical reason, the next best option is to bring people with you. Even if its just someone sitting in the car while you meet the other person. Just having the presence of another person can deter potential would be criminals. It also helps when you’re buying something to have an extra set of eyes that can spot problems or issues with items.
4). Research what you’re buying or selling
Make sure the seller provides you with enough photos and information before you progress to setting up a meet. When you do arrange, a meeting make sure they can show the item works in person. For example, if it’s a laptop make sure they can show you it works. If they only have one picture posted, get them to send a few. Also, know the going rate, see what others are charging and don’t be afraid to bargain with them.
5). Use common sense
The old virtue, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” certainly applies here. Anyone who has used Craigslist before can tell you stories about buyers or sellers who don’t seem right. It could be that they keep making excuses, changing meeting locations, or refuse to send you more information or photos. In situations like that it might be wise to play it safe and back out.
Final Word: 5 Ways to Stay Safe when Craigslist Shopping
As we pointed out on our benefits of Craigslist shopping page, the potential deals with Craigslist are limitless. If you want antiques, new cell phones, free firewood, or anything, you can find it there. But at the end of the day you are still taking a risk when meeting someone anonymously. To that end just a few simple tips and some minor forward planning can avoid a potential life threatening scenario. Isn’t your personal safety worth the extra effort?
Be sure to stay safe out there and best of luck finding great deals!