1. Don’t give out personal information
Avoid listing any personal information on Kijiji or other online classified sites. Most of the classified websites, if not all, offer to act as the middle man for initial communication between potential buyers and sellers. An account is set up, and the potential buyer will leave a message for the seller with information for further communication. There is no need to list your name, phone number, address, email or any other personal information. Give only the necessary information to sell the product or service. Also, be aware that a full name and address can be obtained simply from a reverse-lookup of a home phone number; you can use this, but so can the other party.
2. Google the Buyer/Seller’s name
It’s not a bad idea to do a quick Google search of the name of the other party. Just type their name in the Google search bar and see what comes up. If they have a past with the law, it will likely come up in a search and help you avoid a sketchy transaction.
3. Always bring a friend with you
Have a friend come with you to buy/sell the items. The safety in numbers can remove the opportunity for a bad situation.
4. Ask about history of item being sold
Let’s be honest here, we don’t know for sure that the items being sold are not stolen or acquired illegally. Don’t be afraid to ask about the merchandise before you buy. If you get the vibe that something doesn’t feel right, maybe it’s something you might want to pass on.
5. Meet during daylight hours
We live in a busy world, and we all seem to be in a race against time. We work all day, then come home to make dinner, feed the kids, clean up after dinner, and the list goes on with many more routine tasks that fill up the day. Sometimes it may seem that a late evening meeting would be more convenient; but is it really necessary? Stay visible in well-lit areas when possible.
6. Meet in a public place
Make arrangements to meet in a public place to show or sell items. Consider meeting in a parking lot of large chain store, a coffee shop or even at a park. There is no need to show a complete stranger the valuables you have in your house, or introduce a complete stranger to your family’s home unnecessarily.
7. Use generic photos
There is no benefit to including identifying information in the pictures such as people, pets or front of houses with street numbers. Pictures should show the items in question with little else in the picture. Again, why show the contents of your home to strangers unnecessarily?
It is not uncommon to meet at a bank for exchanges for large amounts of money. It feels more secure and makes for a great public place to meet when purchasing from people on Kijiji or Craigslist. Cash is usually best. Use your discretion with E-Transfers. They have been linked to shipping scams, so if you make a payment before receiving the goods beware, as once it is sent and accepted you can not reverse it in the case that nothing arrives in the mail.
9. Use common sense
When listing valuable items, take the precautions necessary to ensure your safety. Expensive jewelry, pricey electronics and other valuables can attract individuals with less than friendly intentions. Follow the steps above and remove opportunities to be a victim.
10. Follow your gut
If something feels off, and you don’t feel like things are on the up and up, get out. Is it really worth it to put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation? Probably not. If your Spidey senses start tingling, get out.
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