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Craigslist Online Security Tips

Craigslist is a place to find great deals and to sell household items you no longer want. It’s also a great place to find and provide honest services. However, as Craigslist has grown in popularity, it has also attracted all kinds of criminals.

Below are tips to keep you safe when selling and buying online items.

  • Trust your instincts. That strange feeling is your early warning system. If you don’t feel right about something, then pass it up.
  • Designate a meeting location. Never meet someone alone. Take someone else with you and meet during the day in plain sight. This will not always deter an assailant from attacking or robbing you, but it does give you an edge and can potentially discourage a robbery.
  • Paying for the purchase. Be cautious if you bring currency for a transaction. It would be better to accept cash than checks or money orders.
  • Get a callback number. Make sure you have a phone number to contact the seller or buyer. Having a phone number doesn’t mean you still can’t be a victim. In this digital age, criminals tend to use throwaway cell phones. However, having a phone number does give you a starting point in case something does go wrong.
  • Is it too good to be true? If something really is too good to be true, then it usually is and could be a problem. You should shop for a bargain, but watch out for those steals.
  • Tell someone where you are going. Always let a friend, family member or co-worker know about your plans to visit a Craigslist buyer or seller. Make sure they have all the information you wrote down including phone numbers, location, date and time.
  • Never make quick judgment calls. Don’t go to another location at the last minute, don’t get into the car with anyone and don’t change your plans.
  • Carry a cell phone. Make sure you have a fully charged cell phone on hand just in case you need to make an emergency phone call. If your phone has a GPS locator, make sure it is activated so it tells the cell phone company the location of your cell phone. It’s a common feature on newer phones.
  • Obtain information. If possible, obtain the vehicle registration number when meeting someone for an online sale. This tip is just a precaution in case something happens during the meeting or at a later date.
  • Don't release personal Information. When placing your ad, do not give out any of your personal information. The only information available to the seller should be your email address, first name and a phone number.

For questions, concerns or additional information, contact the Community Outreach Team at your local precinct or Officer Bryan Dietsch of the Community Services Section at 410-887-5901.

Revised June 2, 2017         


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