Published on May 16th, 2013 | by Peggy0
Online Classifieds-Staying Safe
With websites such as Kijiji and Craigslist gaining in popularity, there seems to be a false sense of security that comes with using these forums, simply because everyone’s using them. Thousands upon thousands of transactions are conducted daily without much thought. People are selling everything from couches to the kitchen sink. Services are offered without the bat of an eye.
We think because we don’t submit our phone number or physical address, we’ve weeded out potential threat. Seriously, do we think criminals won’t go that extra mile to pretend to be a legit buyer and make you feel safe enough that you’ll give out personal information in hopes of getting the sale? We have a tendency to trust too easily and that can be dangerous.
Here are some tips to keep yourself safe when buying or selling online.
Photograph carefully: Make sure any pictures you post don’t have anything personal included that could be used by a criminal. This could include address numbers on the front door, license plates, expensive jewellery, other family members, children, etc.
Meet in a public place: It could be a restaurant, coffee shop, mall or grocery store. Meet in a well lit parking lot and make sure the business is open. It doesn’t hurt to choose a public place that has video surveillance as well. Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and what the plan is. Finally, only invite them to your home if absolutely necessary and make sure you’re not alone. Some of these criminals want to get into your home for the sole purpose of scoping it out and have no interest in what you’re selling at all.
Gather information: Try not to limit your conversations to email only. Ask them for their phone number so you can call them. Get a feel for the potential buyer. Write down their license plate number when they arrive at the meeting point. The more information you have about them, the better it is if you have to call the police after the fact.
Be in control, at all times: The seller should choose where the meeting takes places, as well as the general time. The seller should stipulate payment as well. Cash is safest and if they balk, that may very well be the red flag you’re looking for. Cheques and digital payment systems are not as safe as you may think. So make sure, before you go that route.
Most of the users on these websites are trustworthy and well-intentioned but it’s important to practice common sense when buying and selling online. Trust your instincts…if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.