Safety Tips for Posting Online Classifieds
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
23 per cent of Canadians now sell goods online. If you post classifieds on, for example, Craigslist or Kijiji, following the below safety advice to ensure your transaction is completed without incident.
- Do not use your real contact details. Sign up for a temporary email address that you can keep for as long as your ad remains available. There are now even mobile apps available that assign you a temporary telephone number that you can delete when you are done with it.
- Do not give buyers any of your personal or financial information. There are several online payment services, like PayPal and Google Checkout, which enable buyers to pay you without seeing your name and bank account details.
- If your smart phone geotags its camera's pictures, remove the geotags before you post the pictures. You do not want everyone who browses a classifieds site to have your address. Do not post pictures with other identifying information, such as your address.
- Meet the buyer in a public place for the sale. An Ontario couple was robbed at gunpoint at their home in March 2014 when buyers came to collect the puppies that they had advertised. It is difficult to take animals and large objects to a public place for the sale, but the price of inviting strangers to your home to collect something of value can be much too high. If you suggest the parking lot of your nearest police station as a meeting place, robbers will probably opt out upfront.
- Always take a friend along for the sale. An Ontario man was tragically murdered in 2013 when he drove two buyers around in the vehicle he was trying to sell. Even better, snap a picture of the buyer and the buyer's license plate when you meet and text it to a friend. Let the buyer know what you are doing and why. You can also ask the buyer for an identification document, such as a driver's license. These might serve as deterrents to people planning to rob you.
- Transfer vehicle ownership to the buyer only once you have received the whole payment.
- Do not let the buyer drive off with the goods until you have verified a cheque. The buyer can accompany you, or you can send a friend to the bank while you remain with the buyer.
- It is generally not a good idea to publish positions for personal services, for example, babysitters. If you do, collect every bit of information about the successful applicant that you can, including a criminal check.
Online shopping seems to be the trend. If you have items to sell, it’s a great idea. Just be careful and think safety first!