How safe is Craigslist? Sheriff deputy weighs in

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Whether it was a good experience or a bad one, chances are, you’ve used Craigslist.

It’s the one-stop online shop for sales, services, trades and even romance.

Lately, stories have surfaced of Craigslist deals going horribly wrong, with buyers getting scammed or sellers getting violent.

Law enforcement agencies across the country are taking action by offering designated “safe zones” for Craigslist transactions to take place.

A spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says the department is currently discussing the possibility of creating a “safe zone.”

Deputy Patricia Alexander, who handles scams, says any user can take steps to protect themselves.

Alexander suggests sticking with local sellers in your metro area, running Google searches on descriptive phrases from ads to determine if they appear elsewhere and never using means of communication outside of Craigslist.

Alexander says it’s safest to pay with cash in person.

“If you just do a little homework on the front side, it’s quite possible that you wont get scammed out of your money,” she said. “As far as the physical violence end of this Craigslist stuff that we’re seeing, go with somebody. Make sure somebody knows where you’re going, well lit, go during the day, witnesses; the same thing that we would do for any other time that we would go meet somebody.”

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