Craigslist.com is a website that allows people to place listings for items they wish to sell, much like similarly styled ads in a local paper. Each listing is arranged by location, designed to be sought out by locals and exchanged in a face-to-face meeting. This provides a unique benefit that is not offered by online resale competitors such as Ebay or Etsy. With this more intimate interaction, though, comes the increased chance of situational mishandling, even to a criminal extent. When factoring in these considerations, is the popular Craigslist site still safe to use?
The question of Craigslist’s safety is complex: Just like many other things in life, the answer is not a simple black-and-white issue, and will vary from person to person. With recent news stories detailing the horrors of the misuse of this online peer-shopping network, many now wonder if the listings represent a real danger. While most transactions occur without a hitch, there are certainly a few tips potential shoppers can follow in order to avoid disaster.
Use Common Sense
Tragically, Craiglist gainted notoriety when the so-called Craiglist killer used false listings that appeared as lucrative opportunities in order to lure people to their death. However, a valuable lesson can be learned, that people should follow their guy and spend some time thinking about the situation before leaping into it. Does the deal sound too good to be true? Than it probably is. Does the seller want to meet at night in a secluded area? Vouch for a more neutral meeting space. Does something seem a little fishy about the situation? Ask questions, and take answers with a grain of salt.
Go With Another Person
One of the easiest yet most effective ways to deter a situation where a seller is seeking to take advantage of a buyer is simply to bring an accomplice. The simple idea of strength in numbers proves true when meeting one person, and is especially wise if the buyer is a young lady, a senior, or belongs to another demographic that is often targeted by malcontents.
It Works Both Ways
Among the best methods to improve the quality and culture of an entity is to provide an exemplary example. Many buyers on Craiglist also host their own listings, and should follow good-practice protocol for the site: Be informative, follow up with queries on items, maintain flexibility, and ensure your information is reflected honestly and effectively.
Although issues and risks with Craigslist will likely persist to some degree, being smart about the process will largely avoid these pitfalls and shortcomings. In this way, the website serves as a microcosm example of other experiences in life: Buying a used car, handling a firearm, raising a child, operating a business, slicing bread, throwing a baseball, and countless more. Just as these should be handled responsibly in order to avoid consequences, so should everything else, and Craigslist is no exception. As long as users properly and intelligently maintain listings and conduct transactions, Craigslist can continue to be a safe, economical vessel for exchanging goods.