Craigslist, Facebook, OfferUp

Most people I know have used Craigslist or bought things off of a ‘buy, sell, or trade’ group on Facebook. It has become a common way to get rid of things you don’t want or buy something you want at a discount. The downside of this arrangement is fraud or the potential cost to your own safety.

There are a number of well-known scams. The Craigslist website advises people to buy face-to-face, which has its own risks. Carjackings, robberies, assaults and unthinkable attacks have started from answering a simple Craigslist ad.

Websites and apps such as OfferUp try to provide a safer alternative. Users can choose to confirm their identity by linking to their social media or using the TruYou service to prove their identity with a Government Issued ID, additionally each user has a rating which people who have transacted with them can contribute to. Additionally, the app messaging feature ensures that you do not have to give your phone number out and the app schedules meetings and suggests community meet up spots for performing your transactions.

If you choose to use other services which do not offer these protections, please consider meeting people at E-Commerce Spots such as these designated parking areas pictured below. While it would seem safe enough to meet in the parking lot of your local mall, people are still getting assaulted, robbed and carjacked.

Yes, certainly there are items which would be inconvenient to bring to an e-commerce site. If you are meeting someone at their home, do not go alone. Tell someone where you are going and text them the address and when you should be back. If you are selling something from you home, also don’t be alone. If you can move something to the driveway or in any way prevent giving a potential thief a walking tour of your home, please do so.

Meet during regular hours. Although there is no guarantee that people nearby will come to your aid, sometimes onlookers can be a visual deterrent for criminals.

Create a back up plan before you need one.

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