Craigslist can be a useful way to turn unwanted items into cash. However, caution is in order here as criminals are increasingly using this site to snare unsuspecting victims. As a point of clarification this post is directed at legitimate sales activity. If you peruse the erotic section for hookups with strangers, escorts, and etc. nothing I say will be of any assistance.
I point out the above only because, at work, I keep running into head shaking incidents where somebody’s complete lack of judgment put them into a situation that had a very bad ending. Less frequent, but worth mentioning are incidents where real unsuspecting victims fell into a trap. Below are some helpful hints to guide your way.
One of the biggest risk factors in a Craigslist meet up is the type of item that is being bought or sold. For instance, if you’re buying some used “Thomas the Train” toys from (presumably) a mother whose children has outgrown them you’re probably pretty safe. However, things like cars, or anything else that is more expensive carries a significantly higher risk factor.
The location for the transaction should be chosen with care. If somebody wants you to come to an unfamiliar place, do your homework before agreeing. Residential/apartment complex meet ups in questionable parts of town are always a risky idea.
A large public parking lot outside a well known business is a much better choice. This is true if you’re the seller as well. Why invite a stranger to your house? Anybody who doesn’t want to meet in a place like this should be avoided.
Regardless of the above advice, meeting strangers off the internet for a cash transaction carries some amount of risk. Be armed, alert, and early so that you can observe the area and the other party as they arrive on the scene. This is especially true for you ladies. If the arriving party just doesn’t look right then don’t be afraid to abort the transaction and make a hasty exit. You don’t owe anybody (especially a stranger) an explanation here and not wanting to appear rude in the face of an uncomfortable or threatening situation is a good way to end up as an ugly statistic.
Finally, take a trusted person with you whenever possible or at least let a loved one know the time and place of the meet up. It maybe crucial information if something goes wrong. If worst comes to worst, take the appropriate measures and make a lot of noise. The only thing a robber/rapist/murderer hates as much as an armed citizen is loud sounds like a woman’s scream.
As always, situational awareness is number one. Happy hunting for those great deals!