Convenient or Dangerous?
If you have old stuff lying around your house, or a service you want to use to make money, you may have considered a website like Craigslist. On these websites, you can list your own items or services, or browse items that others are selling. Once you find what you need, you arrange to get it from the seller. This typically involves the buyer and seller meeting in person to exchange goods and money. Meeting up with the seller has its benefits, as it allows the buyer to see the item they are purchasing, which prevents scams. On the rare occasion, though, encounters relating to Craigslist and other online retail sites end in violence.
In recent years, there has been a slew of injury and murder cases related to Craigslist. In 2015, an elderly Georgia couple was murdered after contacting a seller about a used car, while in 2014, a man was brutally murdered by a husband and wife after being lured to their house by an online ad. Just this past weekend in Florida, a man was killed in a Lakeland parking lot during an online transaction meet-up. Additionally, robbery, assault, abduction, and minor injuries have also occurred as a result of violence during online transactions. In total, around 12 deaths and 330 crimes are linked to Craigslist, showing that the website (and others like it) can be a useful tool for those planning to commit a crime.
Be Safe Online
To prevent violence, Craigslist encourages its user to take basic safety precautions.
- Meet in a public place, like a café, bank, or shopping center. You can also meet in the parking lot of a police station for extra safety. If the other person does not want to meet in a public place, you should be wary of their intentions. Never agree to meet someone in a secluded area, and try to meet during daylight hours, instead of late at night
- Do not invite strangers into your home
- Be particularly careful when buying or selling high value items
- Tell a friend or family member where you are going before you leave to meet someone, where you are meeting them, and when you plan to be back. If a friend is available, ask them to accompany you
- If you have a cell phone, be sure to bring it along
- Always trust your instincts
You should also be aware of scammers. Though they might not cause you any physical harm, scammers can steal money or even information from you. Never give out your personal information online, and avoid any sellers who want to use money wiring services. If possible, make sure to see the item in person before you purchase it, to make sure it is authentic.
Websites like Craigslist don’t inherently have to mean danger— these recent cases just mean that you should be extra cautious when meeting anyone from the internet. Stay alert and use common sense, and your transactions should go smoothly. Be safe!
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.