Contact Kim: Buying safely on Craigslist

Craigslist posts are easy pickings for misleading and scam offers.
Craigslist posts are easy pickings for misleading and scam offers.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - This past weekend, a former Alabama State basketball player was killed after he posted an ad on Craigslist to sell his iPhone. With the holidays upon us, many of you might be looking to buy and sell items on sites like Craigslist and eBay. If you do so, you need to make sure you follow some simple procedures to make sure you stay safe.

If you want it, you can probably find it on Craigslist: electronics, cars, even livestock or a job. Since it was founded in 1996, Craigslist has grown to serve over 20 billion page views every month and generate – conservatively – over $150 million annually.

"Some people may turn to a site like Craigslist, which is not an auction site but a local site where you can purchase from somebody," said Michele Mason of the Better Business Bureau.

But if you are planning to purchase from a site like Craigslist, you need to practice crucial safety measures to assure you and your money are safe.

Deal only with local sellers. Be careful about buying from people who are somewhere else – there have been instances where a lot of scams are posted on the site, and you won't get your money back.

More importantly, if you are meeting to finalize your transaction, don't get lured to a private location. This year alone, there have been three separate cases reported to Huntsville Police in which people said they were robbed when they responded to a Craigslist ad.

"Pick a public place where there is going to be other people around that is safe, or make sure you have other people with you. Visit a place of business and have someone with you," Mason advised.

You also want to protect your money.

"If you are going to transact, use a credit card or PayPal or something that you know you have safeguards built-in to protect you in the event it is a scam," Mason said.

For more information on Craigslist safety, we recommend these tips from About and Yahoo.

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