Staying Safe on Craigslist

By Kylie Gilbert

Craigslist is currently one of the most popular sites for selling and buying stuff online and it has many advantages, which we talked about in our last blog post. However, this classified ad site has also opened up possibilities for dangerous situations.  Because Craigslist itself is not involved in any of the transactions, it is up to you to safeguard yourself while using this site either to sell your unwanted stuff or acquire a new treasure.

Keep your Identity Protected

One of the first precautions to take when using Craiglist is to keep your private information private.  Don’t give out your full name, address, or phone number.  By creating a separate email account without your full name attached to it you can help prevent identity theft.  You can also take advantage of the anonymous email address feature Craigslist offers.   Just as you wouldn’t tell a complete stranger on the street your social security number, you should never do this on Craigslist either.  Don’t under any circumstances give out your bank account information or credit card number.

Meeting Someone in Person

Before agreeing to meet someone in person, make sure you bring someone along with you or that there is someone else at home with you before agreeing to let someone come over.   You should also always tell someone about your meeting for added security.  If you are agreeing to meet somewhere besides your home, do it in a public place.  It is also helpful to do a bit of research be fore meeting someone, or to run a criminal record.  If this seems a bit too involved for you, even asking to speak to others who have dealt with them before can go a long way.

Payment

In order to protect yourself from forged checks, it is best to accept money order, cash or a cashier’s check, rather than personal checks.   You should also never agree to wire money when making a Craigslist purchase, because these transfers are not traceable and cannot be cancelled- a sure sign of a scam.  All goods should be sent via mail or a delivery system such as UPS or FedEx, don’t pay extra for the cost of a shipping or escrow service, which can also be a sign of a scam.

By following these basic guidelines and knowing what to look out for, you can protect yourself and navigate Craigslist with ease.

Sources

How to be Safe When Using Craigslist | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2006750_safe-using-craigslist.html#ixzz1O63UIq9J

How to Use Craigslist Safely | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2350839_use-craigslist-safely.html#ixzz1O62dRj00

Associated Content (this site was really comprehensive but it is four years old)

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/431843/how_to_stay_safe_while_using_craigslist.html

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2951044/how_to_use_craigslist_safely_and_efficiently_pg2.html?cat=15