How To Physically Protect Yourself When Making a Purchase from Someone Online

Monday, February 23, 2015

There have been a couple of really sad stories in the news lately about people that were murdered after they went to meet up with someone they met on Craigslist, whether it was for a job or to purchase an item for sale.

This doesn't mean that Craigslist or any other online site are bad news, it just means you need to take as many precautions as possible.

Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you.

1| Do Your Research.
Once I get the name of someone that has a product I want and wants to meet up, I go on a google/social media spree.  I also reverse search their phone number or address.   If someone refuses to give me a phone number, name, address, and their email address seems too generic, I often times don't think twice about pursuing the sale.   Trust your gut.  

2| Meet in Public.
In a case where an item you are interested in can be easily packed up and transported, it's a GREAT idea to ask  the seller to meet you in a very public place like a busy parking lot (grocery store, mall), a restaurant, a coffeeshop, etc.   If possible, don't go alone.  Always bring someone and if you can't bring someone, make sure people know where you are. 

3| Watch Your Surroundings.
Did someone pull up behind the seller and they are watching you from afar? Make note of that.  Don't get in your car and drive away from a public area if you are afraid you might be followed.  If you are really uncomfortable, you can always call the local police and ask for someone to watch you. 

4| Bring Protection.
Of course the laws in every state are different, but in my state you can carry a concealed firearm if you have a permit.  If that's not an option, make sure you have mace, a personal alarm, a pocket knife, etc.  I know it sounds dramatic, but you have to think of the worst case scenario.   It may sound silly but even bringing a dog along in the car can be enough to deter someone from attempting something stupid.

5| Be Cautious of Going to A Residential Address.
The second you enter someone's home, you are automatically vulnerable.  If someone has a vehicle for sale, bring someone with you, and stay outside of the house.   Once again, be very cautious of your surroundings, and park in the street rather than in a driveway. 

6| Don't Give Out Personal Info.
Be cautious letting someone know where you work, when you work, or where you live.  There are cases where people come home to find their house robbed and ransacked because they told someone their work schedule and where they work and the person knew they would have some time to spare if they decided to break in.

7| Bring a Bodyguard.
Laugh all you want, but simply offering a large friend of yours $25 to ride along in the car when you go to meet up with someone for a job interview at a client's home or other "shady" spot could save your life.  

What other precautions can you think of?

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