We've all heard the stories of Craigslist sale meetups turning into a robbery or worse.
Whether you use Craigslist, eBay, LetGo, Facebook Marketplace or any other buy/sell/trade exchanges online - police say there are five things to know to keep you from becoming a victim:
- Don't disclose personal information (address, credit card numbers, etc.) with sellers or buyers.
- Make sure photos only contain the items you wish to sell. Items in the background may be a target for would-be criminals, or could contain details of your location or personal information.
- When posting pictures of items for sale — use the cut and paste function from a Word document. This will help mask your physical location from GPS locating programs.
- Agree to meet at a populated area or a police/fire station. The Dayton Police Department has specific "Safe Exchange" areas for online transactions. They are located in the parking lots of the EPOD North at 417 East Helena Street and EPOD South 2721 Wayne Avenue. Contact your police department to find out if they offer a similar program.
- Always bring someone with you.
Dayton police Lt. Joe Wiesman says since the “Safe Exchange” program was launched in 2015 there has been a decrease in robberies related to Craigslist and other online marketplaces.
The “Safe Exchange” areas are monitored by surveillance cameras, and offer a well-lit spot to do business.
“It is a police station so if somebody is going to rob somebody or try to do something illegal they won’t meet you here. They’ll come up with a reason why they can’t or totally back out of the deal,” said Lt. Wiesman.
Seasoned online seller Gary Turpin of Dayton offers these additional recommendations:
- don't show your cash or wallet.
- Meet in the daylight.
- Only bring small bills with you.
- Be wary of buying electronics. If you meet at a police station have an officer run a serial number to make sure the item isn't stolen.
Turpin says he’s heard stories of robberies, so he always uses common sense.
“It’s not something that happens on a regular basis, but it does occur. Take precautions and don’t go by yourself, that’s foolish,” Turpin said.
Rachel Murray is a WHIO-TV consumer reporter. You can watch her reports on News Center 7, follow her on Twitter @RMurrayWHIO, and like her fan page on Facebook.
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