Craigslist users being robbed – Staying safe when buying or selling on craigslist.

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craigslist robbery guyA warning to preppers who buy items on Craigslist:

Over the last couple of years, the number of people being robbed or killed when responding to Craigslist ads has been on the rise.  This week alone, I have seen at least three stories of people being either seriously injured or killed when responding to an ad on Craigslist.

From Police in Houston warning the public of an increase in Craigslist robberies, to the 18-year-old couple who was robbed and killed in San Diego, Craigslist is becoming a dangerous place to find and buy goods. Criminals are placing fake ads in hopes of luring people with large amounts of cash to their location, where they can then rob them.

If you’re going to buy something on Craigslist, there are a couple of safety precautions you should take.

  1. Check out the sellers information: Ask for a phone number and an address. Take that information, and check the names of the seller online to find out who you are dealing with.
  2. Ask a lot of questions: Ask as many questions as you can before going to buy the product. If the seller can’t answer your questions, there is a good chance that he doesn’t actually have the product and could be setting you up.
  3. Don’t buy from sellers who only list an email address: This should be a red flag that the seller has something to hide.
  4. Meet in a public place – Criminals don’t want witnesses; meeting in a public place like a coffee shop or cafe can help ensure your safety.  Most of the criminals on Craigslist are looking for an easy target and are not very likely to rob you in a cafe full of people.
  5. If it sounds to good to be true it probably is: A lot of these scams are pretty easy to spot. If the deal sounds to good to be true you are better off passing it up.
  6. Never go to a second location – If you arrive at the predetermined meeting place and the seller asks to go to another place, this should raise some serious red flags.
  7. Don’t go alone.
  8. Show up early: If you are meeting in a public location, show up early and scope out the area. Watch for the seller and make sure everything looks legit. If you have even the slightest concern that something seems out of place, trust your instincts and leave.
Comments

23 Responses to " Craigslist users being robbed – Staying safe when buying or selling on craigslist. " Please share your thoughts...

  1. Sk1F1sh says:

    All good advice, but I really like number 8. Gives you the upper hand. Especially if you stay out of site.

    • Jim says:

      When I purchase from CL I try to have a police officer on hand. If they can’t, try the local sheriff. Otherwise definitely meet at the police station. No other spot is acceptable to me. If the seller doesn’t like it too bad…no deal. I never see the need to give a phone number…they can email you if they are going go be late…never give a phone number..ever! Your smartphone can receive emails just as easy as calls. Never give out your address or any other personal info. It is not necessary. Make it clear if buying you want to inspect the item at the meeting spot (police station) to verify it works if it’s electronic etc. While meeting at a place where there’s a lot of people, it doesn’t always discourage crooks but & I would only do it that way if an officer or sheriff could oversee the transaction. If these things I mentioned can’t be done, it’s not worth a risk. If you need to visit someone’s home, insist the police also be there & don’t go in until they arrive…better yet don’t park there until you see the cops there…drive around until they arrive. If the seller doesn’t like this, something is not right..I realize this is extreme but it will help you & should put the other party ay ease too if they are honest!

      • kevin daniels says:

        Don’t know where u live but the police around here would laugh ay u if u made a request for them to go shopping with u so u could b safe in buying from craigslist.

  2. Marvin says:

    Bring my 9mm to all buys

  3. Deborah says:

    Very good advice. Sadly, criminals take advantage of good sites. Meeting at the police station is a good place.

  4. Brian says:

    I had a young man come in to my station the other day, who had reported his $400 phone stolen the previous day. He said he found it on craigslist and was going to see if it was his, and requested that an officer be nearby for his protection. As the call volume was incredibly high, we had no officers to spare. First, I recommended that he NOT attempt to recover his property, as someone who will steal his phone isn’t taking that big of a leap to rob him at a potential buy. Second, I told him that if he doesn’t listen, and goes through with it, to not bring the money. If he verifies that the phone is his, I told him to tell the seller that he didn’t bring the money, because he didn’t want to get robbed, and that he was going to run to the ATM. He was to get a good physical and vehicle description, bug out, and let our investigators know. I haven’t heard how it went, but there was nothing in the news or the police blotter. Anyway, it’s always a good idea to not bring the money, or have a friend holding it close by. You can usually gauge a person after just talking to them for a little while, and your instincts will rarely, if ever, fail you.

  5. Dan Sanford says:

    I always have the .44 with on craigslist runs. Overkill prehaps, but it carrys just fine in the truck and isn’t as visible as the rifle.

  6. Annette says:

    My son just passed away on Sunday, May 6, 2012. I have medical equipment that I would like to sell including a medical bed, mattress, hygiene supplies, suction tubing, etc. The items are in my home in the den I converted to a makeshift hospital room for him.

    How do I go about selling these items and staying safe. The items are too many and some too large to take to a cafe. I don’t know if I can get police to my home to be sure I’m getting a real buyer. What should I do?

    • mike says:

      Do you know some young people, like 2 college guys that are big that can meet the buyer and scope them out first? Even if you compensated them for their time. Have the young men deal with the people as if it is THEIR home and not yours, dont you even be there. Good Luck and Im sorry about the loss of your Son, God Rest His Soul.

      • Lois says:

        Contact your local Hospice. They may know of clients that are in need of your items. Also you could check with the local VA or church’s to see if they know of anyone that would like to buy your items. This way you are safer than dealing with something like Craigslist.

    • martin sifuentes says:

      I believe you be better off selling your stuff on EBay.. but if it does not worth much you can sell it local,, people more like to steal electronics and small stuff that they can sell quick like phones, laptops , tablets.. TVs gold and stuff like that.

  7. John says:

    I have gone through Craigslist to buy iPhones and i had came across good deal which also states buy 2 and get 1 free. Now i have convinced the seller that i will pay only after receiving the product personally and the seller said that he need my full name with shipping address and telephone number and said that i pay him once i receive phones personally. The worst is i can’t deal locally or face to face because it is distant deal….i want your suggestions..should i give my address and phone number to this seller .. kindly help

    • Donna says:

      Never, ever, buy from craigslist that is not local. Craigslist is in all cities. What you are describing here is is a scam. eBay is for long distance items.
      DO NOT BUY!!

  8. Grizz says:

    Keep your eyes and ears open. Make sure you keep situational awareness. Like #7 suggests, NEVER go alone. The best person to take with you is someone that has no interest in what you’re buying. This allows the second person to keep his/her eyes and ears scanning while you negotiate.

    Also, carrying a pistol does not guarantee safety unless you maneuver correctly, keep a safe distance from others there, etc. Don’t let your own firearm be taken and then pointed at you. It all boils down to good concealed carry training. For God’s sake, please don’t rely on those famous quick pencil-whipping conceal carry classes make you feel fully trained. Get GOOD training, take different classes from different instructors and/or facilities.

  9. M says:

    About #3, I am a female who sells things via CL and I NEVER put my phone number down, only email. I don’t want random people having my number.

    • Donna says:

      Keep in mind, a lot of folks won’t answer email contact only ads, I’m one of them, and I buy and sell a bunch of stuff on CL. A lot of those ads for getting legit email addressees from people…

  10. tjl says:

    The variety of things being sold are too great to fit into the silly mold painted by this article.

    And, everything is focused on protecting the buyer, NOT the seller.

    Sellers often have no choice but to offer people an open door to their home, which is very scary sometimes.

    #3 is COMPLETELY WRONG! Emailing first protects both parties, the buyer and the seller. It allows both to get to know each other a little before gradually disclosing personal and identifying information.

    If the seller puts all personal info out, he has just become vulnerable to anyone who goes to the sight, whether they make contact or not.

    We are trying to liquidate most of our possessions in preparation to sell our home and move. We have had to face down some bad people in the process of using sites like Craigslist.

    Scammers really love it if you take the advice of #3. They will eat you alive.

    • Sarah says:

      This this this. As a seller I would NEVER put more than an e-mail down on the ad itself. Heck I even use the craigslist fake email. That allows me as a seller to filter through half-arsed responses that didn’t read the full ad or just plain bad-vibed responses.

      I would then communicate back and forth with the buyer, and when I feel comfortable that they’re serious and someone worth dealing with (it’s easy to tell a lot by someone just based on how they type and the questions they ask) organize a public meeting place to do the exchange and time, and THEN give my phone number once they’ve committed to buying at that point so we can contact one another once we’re on the road/etc. I’ve never had anyone actually use the phone at that point (if they don’t show I give 20-30 minutes before leaving, I don’t call and hound them) but it gives them a way to contact and say they’re running late or whatever.

      Personally I would never sell or buy anything worth more than $30-40 on Craigslist, but I guess to each his own. Just seems safer to rely on Ebay or Amazon for anything high value–especially popular stuff like electronics.

  11. Madelyn says:

    I was selling things on Craig’s list I didn’t know anything about what said was going on. I am moving. Movers charge so much so I thought I could sell my stuff make the moving money. I stopped the ad. Just gave the stuff away great stuff. Then my son told mom don’t buy or sell people will kill you. I didn’t know. Here I was buying stuff before I knew I planned on moving. Went to people’s houses bought bikes for the kids that didn’t have them. Then a hutch I saw on Craig’s list I went to go see it at his house. God I wouldn’t of gone if I knew what I know now. That worked out great though it was beautiful he delivered it and left. Maybe I was lucky. I think I’m done trying my luck now that I know how dangerous it is. That’s a shame some people screwed it up for the honest ones

  12. Anastasia says:

    Wow. Intense article. THANK YOU! I just listed two items on Craigslist maybe 10 minutes ago. Now Im thinking If anyone responds, I will simply bring the items to a coffee shop and sell them there. I listed the items far below their worth (under $50 each) because Im nice. But Now I wont give out my address. You gotta be careful, I agree.

  13. Billie says:

    I have bought and sold items on Craigslist and I think that as a seller, you have to protect yourself too! I never put my phone number or my address on my adds. I always use my e-mail address to communicate with the buyers prior to giving them my personal information! You don’t want people just showing up at your door at all times of the day unexpected, do you? We have sold some large items and the buyers had to come to our home to see them prior to buying them. We only have had one bad experience selling on Craigslist and that was basically our own fault. This should be common sense but please advise your readers that if they sell a vehicle on Craigslist to make sure the buyer is who they say they are and that you check out their DL. You, as the seller should fill out all of their information on the release form using their DL info and if at all possible, have them go to the DMV with you to complete the transfer. This way you do not get stuck in the situation we are now, where the new buyer gave false info on the release form and never registered the car in his name, turned around and sold it for more money to someone who also never registered it. Because of this, my son is still the registered owner of the vehicle and therefor the police dept., the tow company and the DMV is billing him for parking tickets, towing and storage charges as well as the late registration fees. All of these charges are several times more than what the car sold for! While doing some research, I found out that we are not the only ones that this has happened to, so please make sure to advise your readers so they too don’t get scammed when selling their vehicles on Craigslist.

  14. Nico says:

    ALWAYS MEET AT A POLICE STATION!! Tell the seller ahead of time so you know they’re legit from the get go. If you’re selling…never divulge the address until the ppl are in the area. I ensure this by having them meet me up the street at a local gas station (where I know surveillance cameras are working/I park where they HAVE to pass the cameras) and have them follow you to the location. Yes, this is a secondary location but it is safest as a seller if you can’t get the items away from a residence.

  15. Randy says:

    I don’t go anywhere without a gun, and I fully alert and a where of my surroundings.

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