Safety Tips for Buying and Selling on Craigslist
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Safety Tips for Buying and Selling on Craigslist

Craigslist can be a safe buying and selling tool if safety tips are followed.

Many turn to garage sales or online auctions or yard sales they have too much stuff and want to make some money by selling these items or are looking to save some money by purchasing previously used items.  One popular place to turn for local selling and purchasing of items is Craigslist.  This is an online list that offers the user to sell and/or purchase items.  It's much like a garage sale without having to clean up the garage, make signs, advertise, etc.  Since the start of Craigslist, there have been some news stories about robberies, assaults and murders involved with Craiglist in the center being used as a tool for those seeking to take advantage of or harm users.  So, is it safe to buy and sell through this outlet?  Thankfully, the answer is usually yes, but there are some safety tips to keep in mind to ensure your safety when using Craigslist.

Consider the category in which you are responding to an ad or posting an ad on Craigslist.  Many of the assaults or worst case scenario of murder, has taken place when someone posts or responds to an ad under categories such as escort, massage, etc.  Before responding to one of these categories, you may be wise to seek information from the Better Business Bureau or choose to frequent a legitimate business you are familiar with.  Use extra caution if you choose to proceed with responding to a Craigslist ad in one of these, or similar, categories.  On the other hand, many successful, legitimate transactions have taken place under a variety of other categories.

When selling on Craigslist, choose the highest level of security to protect your identity until a legitimate buyer has contacted you.  You can select that your email not be visible.  Never post your address or your name in the actual ad.  Give only information about the item you are selling along with an encoded email contact (provided by Craigslist).  Take lots of good quality pictures so buyers can feel confident that what you are selling is exactly what they want without having to come into your house to view the item.  Be cautious about accepting money orders or wired money as this is an easy way to scam a seller leaving the seller responsible by their bank to cover the deposited funds if they are not legitimate.  Similar scamming can occur with a personal check.  Definitely do not accept an out-of-state check, but be careful about accepting even a local check.  Only accept cash or Paypal or some other form of online payment that is secure.  While many buyers may be hesitant to pay before they have their item in hand, Paypal does offer different levels of buyer protection especially if you pay via Visa on Paypal.  In that case, your Visa card will typically offer some protection to you as well.  As a seller, be prepared with possible change needed; but, don't carry any additional valuables or cash with you.  When arrangements are made to meet the buyer and make the transaction, offer to meet them in a public place.  Wal-mart's shopping center parking lot, or similar place that typically has security cameras in place, is a good place to meet.  If the buyer is dangerous or attempting to scam you, they will quite often back out of the deal when such a public place is mentioned.  It's a smart idea to bring along a friend so you are not alone in meeting the buyer.

When buying on Craigslist, be prepared to pay cash or to offer to pay online through Paypal.  Don't be overly hesitant to pay via Paypal as, depending on what type of account you have through Paypal, it does offer you some levels of buyer protection, especially if you pay via Visa or some other credit cards by using Paypal.  Read all postings carefully and view pictures before contacting the seller so you know exactly what to expect.  Don't carry extra cash or valuables on you when you arrive to look at the item.  Do carry a battery-charged cell phone, or some other means of contacting help should it become necessary, with you.  It's also a good idea to bring a friend along so you are not alone.

Most transactions that take place on Craigslist are made successfully without any problems.  Many people have sold items they no longer needed or purchased items they needed successfully through Craigslist.  When used as it was originally intended, it can be a very wonderful useful buying/selling tool.  Especially for items that are too bulky to ship on Ebay, Craigslist can be a wonderful means in which to make some extra cash while selling unwanted items.  Just, use your common sense and follow simple safety tips before proceeding with your transaction.


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