Friday, August 28, 2015

RPD Advises Caution in Craigslist Transactions

August 28, 2015

If a deal on Craigslist or another classified listing site looks too good to be true, then it probably is. The Richmond Police Department is asking citizens to exercise caution when using these websites and take steps to arrange a safe transaction.

More than 60 million people across the nation use Craigslist each month, and many buy and sell goods, furnishings or electronics. Recently, Richmond Police detectives have worked several cases in which a Craigslist transaction has turned into a robbery.

RPD urges citizens using Craigslist to scrutinize every sale and purchase. A little healthy suspicion just might be the key to avoiding a questionable or even dangerous encounter.

Here are a few things you can do to safeguard yourself and your transaction.

  • Ask questions – Get as much information as you can up front. If the answers are suspect or you aren’t getting answers, the transaction may not be on the up-and-up.
  • Meet in a well-lit, public place – Suggest a coffee shop or somewhere else with lots of foot traffic. Daylight hours are always best.
  • Avoid transactions in someone’s home – Instead of inviting someone inside your home to see a large item, like a sofa, consider bringing the item outside if possible. 
  • Don’t go alone – Take a friend to watch your back.
  • Never go to a second location – If you arrive at the initial meeting place, and the seller asks that you follow them somewhere, that should be a red flag.
  • Be aware of scams and other risks – Whether it’s someone asking you to wire money or inquiring about your personal information, be wary of anything that seems out of the ordinary. There’s also the risk that whatever you’re buying may not work, or worse, it could be stolen. 
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away – If something seems fishy, trust your instincts. No material item is worth the risk.
If you’ve been the victim of a crime, report it by dialing 911 or calling the Richmond Police Department non-emergency line at 804-646-5100.