Craigslist can be a great place to publicize items that you’d like to sell. You can rid your home of things you no longer want, while making a few extra bucks. The one major downfall of Craigslist, of course, is the associated crime so it’s important to take extra measures to ensure your safety.
Vet Your Buyer in Advance
Before meeting a virtual stranger, make an effort to vet the person that you’ll be meeting. It’s a common misconception that sellers should only concern themselves with vetting buyers if they’re selling an item of high value but that’s not the case. No matter the item you’re selling, take some time to find out what you can about the person that you’ll be meeting.
You can use Trusted.Sale to verify the buyer’s identity, that way you know they are who they say they are.
Meet in a Safe Space
Find a public, populated area to make the transaction. Meet in a well-lit area during the day, preferably in a place with security cameras. If you meet in a parking lot, be sure to park up close to the store, where the actions at, as opposed to the far back of the lot which isn’t typically populated or visible on security cameras. Most cities have dedicated “safe spaces” for transactions that stem from online marketplaces, such as Craigslist. Trusted.Sale users can receive recommendations for safe spaces in their area.
If you can, avoid inviting people into your house or providing your address. Likewise, avoid going to a stranger’s home, if possible. Unfortunately, some items can’t easily be moved to a public location – like a piano for instance. That makes it that much more important that you’ve vetted your buyer before welcoming them into your home.
Protect Yourself from Scams
While most buyers and sellers on Craigslist are legitimate, there are a few bad apples. When Craigslist first launched, it was seemingly more easy to detect scammers, what with their horrible punctuation and sometimes nonsensical replies to posts. However, scammers have become savvier and can be more difficult to detect. Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself:
Is their offer too good to be true?
Is the email riddled with excessive grammatical and punctuation errors? (Even though this may not be a silver bullet, it should be treated as a red flag.)
Are you able to look up the buyer once you know who you are meeting? (Pro tip: check out Trusted.Sale for buyer and seller verification, so that you know exactly who you are transacting with.)
Where are they located? If the sale is listed locally but the person is not local and is not willing to travel to meet you, that’s a red flag.
How do they want to pay? If they request to pay via Paypal, that’s a big red flag. It’s understandable that the buyer may not want to meet a virtual stranger with large sums of cash on their person (and Trusted.Sale can manage the transaction to ensure that isn’t the case) but it is important that sellers don’t accept payment in any way that could be manipulated. For example, a buyer could pay with Paypal but later file a dispute in order to retract their payment. In other cases, scammers will send an email confirming payment that looks like It came from Paypal but didn’t – and in those cases, no transaction ever occurred. If you do transact through Paypal, login to make sure that you were paid and then be sure to familiarize yourself with and comply with Paypal’s terms and conditions. For example, be sure to include a tracking number for any goods shipped.
Take a Friend Along
No matter where you meet your potential buyer and no matter the extra legwork that you’ve done, it is always a good idea to bring a friend along.
For extra measure, it’s a good idea to have a point person off-site. Share the name of the person that you’re meeting as well as the time and the location of the meet-up. Let them know when you arrive for the sale and that you’ll call them when you leave.
Trusted.Sale Can Help
Although I hate to make a shameless plug, I’m going to do it anyway in the name of safety! Check out Trusted.Sale for more information on how you can safely sell items on Craigslist.