I think it is unfortunate that Craigslist gets such a bad rap. I have sold dozens of things on Craigslist over the years. I have even successfully gotten rid of an old but trusty gas grill using the curb alert feature. Every transaction went off without a hitch…until recently.
Craigslist is a great tool. It allows you and me to swap and sell things, without the costs of placing an ad or exposing yourself directly to the vast public. However, if you are going to complete the deal, eventually we have to drop the vail of anonymity, and that is when the predators strike!
It doesn’t take a refined search to turn up dozens of stories of various types of transactions based on a Craigslist ad going bad. My Yahoo search was, “craigslist story gone wrong”. I narrowed it to just the past month. It returned almost a half a million results! I clicked to the second page, and nearly every search returned was from a news site. It might be safe to say that someone falls victim to a Craigslist ad, every day.
It’s because of the predatory nature of the dark under belly of our society that I recently underwent one of the most thorough background checks in my life. A dating site introduced me to someone with whom there was almost instant chemistry. But because frequent stories of woman falling victim to these predators’ fills the news, my match was being careful. By the time we finally met just a couple weeks after our initial contact, she knew more about me than other mates learned in a year.
Yet, the prospect of our first meeting still made her nervous, and we all know what an incredibly nice guy I am.
However, woman are not the only Craigslist victims…or near victims.
As I opened this post with, my last attempt to sell something did not go as smooth as all the transactions before it. Sitting in my basement was a five cubic foot chest freezer. The ex bought it a couple of years ago to store bulk purchases from Sam’s Club. Until a month ago, the only thing it held was freezer pops. It seemed like an expensive way to store frozen sugar water.
It was time to let it go.
I placed the ad in Craigslist and didn’t give it much thought. Living way the hell out in the sticks makes selling things a little more difficult. Hell, I can’t give away my thirty six inch tube television! If you want it, use the email link on my blog, I will pay for shipping.
Like any Craigslist ad, you will get an email about once a week asking if the item is still available. I reply, “Yes it is.” And assume that will be the end of it. I received a couple of those, then an email came up on my phone saying, “call me ASAP about the 5 cubic foot freezer.”
I called the number in the email, and left a message. Within the hour, my phone rang and the number looked familiar to the one I left the message on. On the other end was a man who sounded more like he was looking for stolen cars than a small chest freezer. The fact that he was from Brooklyn Center should have set off alarms, but I was being naïve.