Transaction Safe Place

In the growing world of buying and selling items online, a concern has arisen about how safe is it for you to buy or sell something online. Personal safety is a major concern for anyone who endeavors in online sales and/or purchases. Who doesn't get excited when we see that item we have been looking for? Or how about when the price is so low that it is too good to pass up.

Okay, let's say we decide to buy an item we saw online or sell an item to an unknown buyer. How do I contact the seller? What information do I provide to the seller? Where is a good place to meet and pick up the item? Should I send money through the mail? Is the buyer or seller going to send me the item I bought?
Transaction Safe Place
There are numerous questions that arise when it comes to buying and selling online. The majority of online sales come from buyers/sellers that are trustworthy and we- intentioned, but what if the person you are buying from or selling to are one of the few that aren't. In this article, we will touch on some safety tips to help you stay safe!

Giving Out Real Contact Information

Craigslist gives you the option of using your true email address or using a Craigslist-provided proxy email address, so that you don't have to expose your true email when posting an ad. It's a good idea to use the proxy email, as it will help keep spammers and scammers from getting access to your real email address.

While the Craigslist-provided anonymous address is great for receiving emails, it doesn't conceal your identity when you choose to respond to someone. If you want your response to not contain your true email then you may want to use a disposable email address, such as one from Mailinator, GishPuppy or others to conceal your identity. This will help preserve your anonymity throughout the entire transaction instead of just during the initial inquiry.

Shop Local When Possible

Craigslist recommends that you "Deal locally with folks you can meet in person." This is a good rule of thumb since many scammers won't risk meeting you in person and won't waste the resources needed to do so.

Giving Out Personal/Financial Information

Some scammers who post job listings on Craigslist will try to get you to submit to "credit checks," so they can steal your personal information in order to obtain credit cards and other things in your name.

Never give out any personal or financial information to anyone requesting it online via Craigslist. Always meet in person and deal in cash or use a secured / proxied form of payment such as PayPal, so you don't have to reveal your credit information to the seller.

Avoid Using Money Wiring Services

Craigslist advises that most anyone wanting you to use a money wiring service is likely trying to scam you. Wire transfers seem to be the service of choice for criminals (especially foreign ones) perpetrating shipping scams and other related fraud.

If someone wants to use a wire service for payment it should set off a red flag in your mind that they may be looking to scam you.

Buying Unseen Items

People tend to trust that the picture a seller posts of an item is really the item being sold. Some sellers will just grab a picture they find on the Internet, because they are either too lazy to take one themselves or they are trying to conceal something about the real item being sold. Always check out the item in person before making a deal.

Meeting the Buyer or Seller

For your own personal safety, always meet the buyer or seller in a public place such as a coffee shop, mall parking lot, local municipal complex or any place that has a lot of people. It's probably a good idea if you bring a friend as well to witness the transaction and keep an eye out for your safety.

We also recommend that you don't meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home. Always take your cell phone along with you, and make sure to tell a friend or family member where you are going before meeting a buyer or seller.

Buying/Selling High Value Items

This is the most dangerous of all transactions. If something bad is going to happen, it is going to happen with high end sales/purchases. When dealing with this type of activity, it's very important to follow the other safety tips to assure your personal safety.

Trust your instincts, if the deal is too good to be true, then most likely it is. If something doesn't seem right, then most likely it isn't.

Remove Geotags From Pictures

Photos you take with your GPS-enabled smartphone of items to be sold on Craigslist may have the physical location of where you took the picture embedded in the EXIF metadata, which is part of the picture's file header. While it's possible that Craigslist may strip out Geotag (GPS location) information from the pictures you upload of your items, you should always remove geotag information from your photos before uploading them to Craigslist.

While you can't see the GPS geotag information in the picture, thieves using an EXIF metadata viewer application might be able to read the location information hidden in the file header, which can help them locate the item. Use an EXIF geotag removal app to remove the geotag information from your pictures before you post them online.

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North Fayette Township Municipal Complex Aerial

Craigslist Safety

Craigslist isn't any more dangerous than any other online community. The main problem, just like any other public website, is how easy it is for people to use false identities. They can hide behind these aliases and fool people into thinking they are trustworthy, even though they aren't. Unfortunately, this holds true for individuals wanting to steal money and goods, along with those who want to cause physical harm.
So, with this in mind, North Fayette Township and the North Fayette Police Department would like to create a Transaction Safe Place. We would like to offer any of our residents an opportunity to use the North Fayette Township Municipal Complex to meet prospective sellers/buyers for online purchases. Not only will this give the seller/buyer the ease of mind of completing the transaction in a safe environment, but it will provide the safest opportunity for it to be completed safely. Our Municipal Complex houses the North Fayette Township Police Department and most non-trustworthy people will not want to come near a police department to try a make an illegal transaction.

Thank you and please stay safe!