Go Ahead and Shop On Craigslist, But Use Caution
In Aiken, South Carolina, 23-year-old Frank Frazier, Jr. was shot and killed. Why? Because he and an accomplice attempted to rob a couple that they had lured via a Craigslist ad.
Here’s how the scam worked. Frazier and his accomplice posted an ad on Craigslist for a car, and an interested couple met the pair at a gas station to see the vehicle. As the couple tried to pay for the car, Frazier and his accomplice pulled guns on them. Fortunately, the female victim was faster. She pulled her gun and shot Frazier, while the accomplice fled. Though police arrived quickly, Frazier was pronounced dead at the scene, in a situation where the criminal became the victim.
This, of course, is not the first time an incident occurred via Craigslist advertisements. In fact, there was even a serial killer, Philip Haynes Markoff, who became known as the “Craigslist Killer,” after luring victims via the website. With all of these well-known cases, this is something that happens all of the time, right?
Though these cases are well known, the odds of actually finding yourself in a situation like this are rather low. Some experts generalize that out of every 10,000 transactions that occur on Craigslist each day, only about one of them will go bad. However, there is still a need for caution, as you never know if you will fall into that spot.
A scam is a scam and a crime is a crime, Craigslist is just one way that the bad guys use to target their victims. Just as there is a chance that you will fall for any scam or find yourself in a bad situation, there is always the same chance when shopping on Craigslist. Should you stop shopping on Craigslist? No. Instead, you should just shop smarter.
When meeting someone who is buying or selling on Craigslist, do a bit of research before meeting. Get their telephone number and find out as much as you can about that person online. Google their number, ask their name and look them up on Facebook to get an idea of who they are. Only then should you choose to meet them.
Many municipalities have set up “Safe Zones” in police station parking loits to help insure a safe transaction. Seek one out in your town.