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Beware of Craigslist Crazies

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Here are my tips to keep you safe as you enjoy the sweet deals.

a woman on a computer

Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I love Craigslist, but it's got its share of crazies -- interesting crazies, who meet you to buy your old computer monitor and peel off a hundred dollar bill from a huge wad. Weird crazies, who try to nap on your couch before making you an offer for it. Scary crazies, like murderers, who find victims there. I've met the first two crazies, but since I'm writing this, obviously (and thankfully) not the last.

For those of you not in the know, Craigslist is a site where people can buy and sell merchandise -- much like eBay, but locally. People also use the site to solicit and seek employment, as well as social connections. I like Craigslist because if I am buying something, I can usually find it at a better price than eBay and there won't be a shipping fee. I have a few tips, however, and most are common sense.

1. Try not to reveal too much personal information about yourself on the site or to your contact unless necessary (like a résumé), and then only after a little due diligence confirming that your contact is reputable.

2. If you are buying or selling something, meet your contact in the daylight in a public, well-attended location, like a mall.

3. If you can, bring a friend, but not your kids.

4. If you are looking for someone to employ, conduct an interview, do a background check and get references -- just like you would for anyone.

If you haven't already, do peruse the site. Besides buying and selling, I have used Craigslist to find a chef on New Year's Eve (years ago, we picked up a delicious gourmet meal for eight at a fraction of the price of going out), a lifeguard for a kid's party, and babysitters and elder caregivers. There are interesting services out there. Why, not too long ago, there was a great bargain when I searched for house cleaning. A guy in my neck of the woods was offering to clean houses for free -- totally naked. And he did a pretty good job, too ...

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Nancy February 2, 2010, 8:44 AM

I lol’d at the naken house cleaner. I’ve had good and bad experiences with craigslist. I liked your article because it does point out some common sense things to think about that many forget.

hillary February 2, 2010, 3:56 PM

i sell a lot of baby stuff on CL and if it’s not a mom picking up an item i always make sure i have the buyer come over when my dh is home. and during daylight. just common sense :)

me February 17, 2010, 10:13 PM

I had a scary moment! I was new to the site and posted my telephone number!I got many calls. I gave people my address. when I was contacted the fourth time, It was A pervert asked me to put my tampons in my mailbox!

Missy March 9, 2011, 11:45 AM

Just recently I realized how crazy CL people are. I was selling my iPhone on craigslist, and like the other person commented, placed my number on CL since I didn’t always check my email. A guy sent me a text, and then called and sounded normal and said he wanted to meet to see the phone. We set up a time and place to meet. As soon as we hung up, he sent me a text and asked me if I would accept drugs in place of my phone. I told him that I could no longer do business with him, and to please not contact me again.

Later the next day, I was getting ready to leave and noticed that he was sitting outside my house looking crazy. Much to my benefit I’m married to a sheriff who gets a take home car, so I looked at him, opened my garage door, he then saw the police car in the driveway and took off. I went about my day, and when I got home that evening, he had my name, number and address posted all over craigslist, I had to go and file a police report, and threaten to press charges to get him to take it off. He informed me that it was easy to look me up, because my email had my first and last name in it, which I never knew, that and with my number, he told the police he had all he needed to find me. Needless to say, I never dealt with, or heard from him again, and after that, I will never again sell on craigslist.

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