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How to beware when buying on craigslist


Craigslist has of course been in the news recently. A Boston man has been dubbed the “Craigslist Killer”, accused in the death of a woman he met through the site.

Yesterday, we told you how people selling goods and services can protect themselves, today some advice for buyers.

You can find just about anything you’re looking for on craigslist. Barbara Duff found a puppy, Brian Edwards found a new employee.

Brian owns Trademark Investments in Wilmington. Craigslist is a lifeline for his business. “We use it to buy all kinds of photography equipment, we buy and sell homes on there, automobiles, it’s an everyday thing for us.”

More than 50 million people use craigslist each month. With this much traffic, it’s hard to police, so it’s important to keep your guard up when using the site.

Sheriff’s Detective Vincent Saponaro recommends checking out someone’s background before you hire them off of craigslist. “Don’t be afraid to ask for references and insist on getting them from someone that is going to come to your house. If they’re legitimate and they’re in good standing with other clients, they’re going to have those references readily available for you to contact.”

As a frequent craigslist user, Brian has caught on to scams he commonly comes across on the site. “They will bombard you with sales offers and make one hundred dollars an hour stuffing envelopes, there’s a lot of those things out there you get hit with. But pretty much the buying and selling is local people trying to sell things in their garage.”

Detective Saponaro said the most common scam he sees on craigslist involves a deal made overseas. The scammer sends a check for more than the item listed is worth, then tries to con the person into cashing the check and wiring back the balance owed.

“Of course the check is no good, the person cashes it at their bank and wires it, the bank tells them it’s no good and ultimately, they’re responsible to pay it back, even though they become a victim of the scam,” Saponaro said.

Barbara and Brian both said they’ve had good experiences with craigslist, but they take extra precautions just in case.

“I did bring somebody with me though, just to make sure. You just never know in this world,” stated Barbara.

A local website similar to craigslist is wilmingtonyardsales.com.

Many members of the community prefer this site over craigslist because they say they feel safer.

Every Tuesday, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., hundreds of people meet at the empty Bruce Cavanaugh parking lot on Market Street to exchange prearranged deals. This way, the transactions are public and many feel safer about this type of exchange.

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videoYesterday, we told you how people selling goods and services can protect themselves, today some advice for buyers.

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