The statistics are pretty staggering, and tell the story - we love to buy and sell online!
Virtual garage sales are popping up all over (I belong to several, myself). I've been both a buyer and a seller and had good success, for the most part. However, I am well aware that I need to protect myself while dealing with people I don't know, online when selling my stuff.
Tips for staying safe
Be very careful what information you reveal. Consider setting up an email account solely for buying/selling transactions, which doesn't include your real name.
Arrange a time prior to exchanging goods to have a telephone conversation. It is a good way to get a feel about the person you are about to meet. If anything doesn't feel right, don't go any further.
When the time comes to exchange items/money, meet in a public location during daylight hours. It would be ideal if you could meet at a place which has video surveillance. I've meet at grocery store and Tim Hortons parking lots, and always feel very secure there.
If you absolutely have to meet at a home, never step inside. Conduct your business on the doorstep. If you are doing a transaction at home, be sure to take someone with you, or have someone at home with you. I always take either my husband or teenaged daughter when I meet someone.
Try not to offer a name or home address in any ads. There is nothing wrong with using a pseudonym.
If you get a gut feeling that something about the exchange isn't right, walk away. There will always be another buying/seller. Getting a good deal just isn't worth jeopardizing personal safety. If it seems too good to be true, most likely it is!
While, I am still fairly new to buying and selling online, I've only had one negative experience. Most of my dealing have been through local facebook groups, which I think offer me a sense of security. Since my less than perfect experience, I now take those tips to heart and keep in mind that someone else will come a long if a deal falls through.
Do you buy and sell online? What are your thoughts and practices for staying safe?
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