Facebook has brought the world a certifiable cultural revolution. It connects people around the globe in ways that we never could have dreamed of just a few years ago. Sure, it has its detractors, but all in all, it’s hard to knock it when you use Facebook for what it was meant to be used for. One of the nice things to come about in Facebook in recent years has been the community yard sale groups, where you can buy, sell, and trade items within your neighborhood, town, or city. In light of all the negativity to be found on Craigslist these days, not to mention the somewhat sketchy posts that can usually be found, the yard sale sites on Facebook feel more open, and considerably more safe. Is that really the case, though?
As with anything in life, an ounce of prevention is well worth a pound of cure, particularly where dealing with strangers is concerned. Just because someone is from your local area doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re trustworthy, or that they aren’t out to take advantage of you. Therefore, it’s important to make certain that whenever you’re making a deal on one of these groups, you keep your guard up, and make sure that you follow a few simple safety precautions.
First up, remember that deals that seem to be too good to be true probably are too good to be true. If a price is so low as to be crazy sounding, then there’s a chance that the seller may be trying to sell stolen items, and as I’m sure you know, receiving stolen property is as much a crime as is stealing the items in the first place.
In the realm of personal security, once you’ve made the deal, there’s a time to meet and a time not to meet to complete the transaction, and a way to do it to make sure you stay safe. Always have a companion go with you, and never meet anyone after sundown. Pay attention to how inflexible the seller or buyer is with regards to meeting places and times. If they want to meet you in a darkened warehouse parking garage in the middle of the night, something’s up. If possible, meet in a police station parking lot (many departments are now allowing people to make trades there to prevent problems) Second best is at a busy parking lot or store.
Broken items are an issue you may come into contact with as well, and its important to prevent yourself from being taken advantage of in this way by trying out items before money changes hands. If the seller isn’t willing to turn the tablet or other electronic item on, be wary.
As with anything really, use your instincts when either buying or selling items on Facebook. The popularity has already spread, and has no doubt spread out to catch the attention of criminals. Always be aware of what’s going on around you, buy and sell carefully, and remember that no deal is too good not to walk away from.