Police remind customers to stay safe when browsing online yard sale sites

(WTHI Photo)
(WTHI Photo)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – With the holidays now in the books, many are making room for new gadgets and furniture in their home.

While it’s out with the old and in with the new, some of you may turn to the internet to get rid of items you no longer need.

A stroke of the keyboard and a click of the mouse is all you need to find a deal near you.

“You know, you have to be mindful of who you’re dealing with,” said Ryan Adamson, Terre Haute Police Department, “You’re dealing with, most of the time, a complete stranger.”

Online yard sales and classifieds are popular hubs for buyers and sellers. While they are often the “go to” for many looking to snag a good bargain, some still have concerns. In years past, studies have linked sites, like Craigslist, to different crimes throughout the country.

“We can’t get into this mindset that it’s not going to happen to me, because it might,” said Adamson, “but there’s several steps that you can take to make yourself safer.”

Adamson says sites like Craigslist operate through email.

“Don’t ever give out personal information,” he said, “Don’t ever give out banking account information, home addresses, personal telephone numbers, Craigslist for example works through email, keep it that way.”

Adamson says while preparing to meet-up with a potential buyer or seller, know the agreement beforehand.

“Meet in a public place, don’t ever invite someone to your house, don’t ever meet at their house,” he said, “Negotiate prices prior to meeting a person. Actually meeting a stranger is not the time to negotiate a price, have a price set. Pay with cash and only accept cash.”

There are options when it comes to picking a place to meet. Adamson says meeting at your local police department is one of the safest routes to go.

“You can meet at the courthouse parking lot or the city hall parking lot, try to meet in a public place that’s very visible and well lit,” he said, “Take a companion if you can, take your cell phone, make sure it’s fully charged and just be aware of your surroundings.”

Adamson says if you’re unsure of a post, go with your instinct.

“If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it,” he said, “There is a ton of buyers and sellers on Craigslist, Ebay, whatever, what have you. So if it doesn’t seem right, it’s not. If the deal is too good to be true, it is.”

Craigslist also offers safety tips and advice, you can view them here.