Safety tips for using websites like Craigslist

Published: Jan. 27, 2015 at 12:45 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2015 at 12:19 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - In the wake of the Georgia couple who went missing after attempting to buy a car from Craigslist, we compiled a list of safety tips for using the classified advertisements website and avoiding dangerous situations.

Lucas Shaffer from Stand and Stretch, a web design and mobile marketing agency, points out the fact that the Craigslist website warns their audience to use "common sense precautions."

"Their website says billions of transactions have occurred since the creation of Craigslist and next it says there has been a small percent of violent crimes. This is a 'use at your own risk,'" Shaffer said.

Wayne Summers, Professor of Computer Sciences at Columbus State University, warned consumers to use your common sense.

"Make sure you verify who they are and don't go out to some shady place by yourself," Summers said.

They both said if you are going to use Craigslist, make sure you meet the person in an open and public place.

"You want to meet in a open place, bring a friend, tell someone you're going, do anything you can to track some type of transactional process. Also follow your gut," Shaffer said.

"You wouldn't make a deal with someone on the newspaper and send them a check in the mail, don't do it by email, do it face to face," Summers said.

Other safety tips include: don't bring a lot of cash, bring someone with you, and always take your cell phone.

Safety tips from the Craigslist website include:

·         Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe.

·         Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home.

·         Be especially careful when buying/selling high-value items.

·         Tell a friend or family member where you're going.

·         Take your cell phone along if you have one.

·         Consider having a friend accompany you.

·         Trust your instincts.


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