Let’s face it, you can find some good deals on craigslist, however, craigslist can also be a very dangerous place and precautions must be taken for your personal safety. The 5 ways to protect yourself when using craigslist are;
Some people will say that this is not feasible because they are looking to sell large pieces of furniture. We disagree. Once you provide your physical address, you are a potential victim for other crimes perpetuated by the person from craigslist that you handed over your information to, or his or her buddies and acquaintances. Don’t do it.
If you are purchasing a small item; try to have the seller meet you in a well-populated area. Bring a buddy and park nearby. Pay attention to your surroundings. Sometimes the seller will sell you an item and friends of the seller will rob you of the item as soon as you walk away.
If you must go to someone’s home, ask for the person’s first name and last name and do a quick internet search to make sure that the information matches. You should also bring a buddy with you, and let others know exactly where you are doing.
If you get a bad vibe, get away quickly and do not go into the home.
There are new rules for cell phones and the carriers now can block cell phones using the ESN or IMEI numbers. You have to be really careful that you are not buying a cell phone that can’t be used.
Meet the person at a Starbucks, or even a McDonald’s, where you can sit down to inspect the phone and contact the cell phone company. If you are purchasing a phone from T-Mobile or AT and T, you should bring a SIM card with you and try it out. That is not foolproof though. If the phone appears to work, call the cell company, tell them you are testing out a phone that you want to buy and you want to make sure the IMEI is not blocked.
Get a receipt that clearly shows the buyer and seller names. the model of the phone, the IMEI number and the time of transaction. Sometimes an unscrupulous craigslist seller will report the phone stolen right after you purchase it. The unscrupulous seller will then get a new phone and your phone will stop working after a month or so.
If you have the documentation, you may have a chance of getting the phone turned back on and the seller can be prosecuted for fraud.
If you are purchasing a phone that does not have a SIM, contact the cell phone and verify the ESN. Make sure you get the reps name and the same recommended above information.
No doubt there are good, legitimate gigs, however, there are a number that are not. No legitimate job will ask for your personal information, such as your social security number and address, without conducting a formal interview and you should not give it out until you verify just who is offering the job.
If you do secure an interview, obtain the address, phone number and person you are interviewing with and verify this information beforehand. Do not agree to meet in an out of the way place for an interview and make sure you have a support network who knows where you are.
Sometimes employment agency representatives masquerade as employers and, although you would likely not be in danger in that case, they are trying to build up their list. Others use the information for identify theft purposes and still others use it as a way to lure you.
There are warnings all over craigslist about this, yet people still succumb to it. Let’s say you are selling an item for $80. The purchaser will tell you that they have a company check, a bank check or some other story and that the check they have is for $300. They want to buy your item and ask you to give them the overage; in this case $220.
If you do that, you will find that you have lost the value your item ($80), the $220 that you gave out and are out another $300 because the check is fraudulent.
If they insist on paying by check, tell them they can mail you the check and you will have to wait 2 to 3 weeks until it totally clears and then once it is fully cleared, you will ship the item. Tell them you will also need a copy of their drivers license and watch how fast they run.
Craigslist can offer some great finds, however, you must be very careful when conducting transactions and the 5 ways to protect yourself when using craigslist should be utilized whenever possible.
Remember, if it seems to good to be true – it is!