Is It Safe to Buy From Online Classified Ads Sites?

Author: PeopleFinders on May 19th, 2020
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As the internet has become more and more prolific than ever, classified ads sites (like Craigslist, Recycler, and Pennysaver) are flourishing. These sites can be extremely useful, but they can also be dangerous, financially as well as physically.

This can be especially true when a transaction on a classified ads site is completed in-person. If you have to show up to collect an item, that introduces a variety of dangers that you won’t experience in a situation where the other person ships it to you. But then, you could also be safer in some ways.

Stay safe when it comes to local peer-to-peer buying and selling by:

-Avoiding scams

-Making sure “local” really means local

-Being smart with payments

-Verifying a seller’s safety


Make Sure You Avoid Scams

Local classified ads sites encompass their own specific kinds of scams that other online sites simply don’t. Online, a person can take your money and simply never send you the item. But in person, there are different types of scams that don’t necessarily revolve around whether you receive an item. For example, an item might not be as described, or someone might use whatever information you provide to dig up more personal information.

You can avoid most of these scams simply by following the rules of whatever peer-to-peer site you’re utilizing. For example, Craigslist recommends that you only offer payment in person and never pay in advance. Some sites may require that you pay through the site directly to avoid any issues. With general common-sense tips, you can avoid scams.

Deal Only With Local People

When it comes to local peer-to-peer selling sites, one of the most important things to remember is the local part. Although this may seem like an obvious piece of the puzzle, it might surprise you how frequently people fall for scams that include sending money to someone who doesn’t live in the area.

The only way to make sure you avoid these types of scams is, like the previous tip, to always follow the rules of whatever site you’re using. If a site allows you only to deal with people in your immediate area and meet up with them to make a transaction, don’t try to make a transaction with people who live many miles away. Not only do you run the risk of falling victim to a scam, but the site might not cover liability if something does go wrong.

Pay the Right Way

This is a good thing to remember for any purchase or anytime you’re sending money. But it’s especially important for classified ads sites. The way in which you pay the other person for goods or services is very important, and you need to make sure you’re not paying in a way that could set you up for a scam.

The most common payment methods scammers ask for include money transfers, gift cards, and other untraceable methods you’ll never be able to get back. Scammers can even target peer-to-peer payment options. So, to be as safe as possible, just bring cash.

And don’t ever send any payment through the mail ahead of time.

Stay Safe

In general, buying from peers is usually very safe. It’s actually not very common for peer-to-peer transactions to go wrong. But just in case if they do, you need to make sure you’re prepared. A good start is making sure someone knows where you’re going when you’re picking up or selling an item. Or, better yet, have someone come with you.

You can also try to add another layer of protection with PeopleFinders. There are a number of ways that PeopleFinders may be able to help you with your peer-to-peer transactions, especially local transactions.

If you’re planning to meet up with someone whose name you can already see, like a seller on Facebook Marketplace, you can perform a criminal records search using the person’s name to try and verify that they’re safe to be around. If you’re texting someone to set up a meeting, you can perform a reverse phone lookup to try and get all that same information.


Local classified ads sites are great outlets for people to reuse products, find something at a better price, and generally learn more about the surrounding community. But you have to do so safely. With a little common sense, online research, and following the site’s recommended guidelines, your transaction should turn out safe and satisfying.

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