Buyer Beware: The Dangers of Craigslist ‘Bargains’

Beware of Craigslist "bargains"

With Christmas approaching, who can blame people for trying to find bargains for gift-giving? But sometimes the search for a deal can come with all manner of danger. A dear friend of mine sought out an iPhone 8 for his lovely bride on Craigslist. Florio thought he’d found a good deal. Instead, when he arrived, he faced an armed robber with a Smith & Wesson snub-nosed .38 Special. We can all learn some valuable lessons from his experience.

It all began with Florio searching online for one of Apple’s latest and greatest. He wanted to surprise his wife by picking up a lightly used phone from someone who’d upgraded to the iPhone X. Finding a couple of phones for sale on Craigslist, he talked the seller down from $750 to $500. Once they settled on a price, they agreed to meet this past Friday afternoon at a residence in Harvey, Illinois.

Craigslist robbery

Florio showed up at the residence above, appointed time of 4:15pm with his teenage daughter in the car.

First, a little about Florio. Born and raised in Albania, Florio went to college and eventually became a school teacher before emigrating to the United States. Fluent in multiple languages, he worked for the German embassy in Albania as a translator and occasionally a driver in his spare time. He also studied and became an EMT during his time in the university.

He’s always liked guns and worked hard to gain proficiency. And then some. Since coming to America, he’s become a firearms and tactics instructor. Not only does he teach basic handgun and rifle classes, he also helps teach advanced coursework, including force-on-force training. He knows his stuff and shares his extensive knowledge with others in a bid to help keep them safe.

Unfortunately his good sense failed him that day and it almost cost him dearly.

On that Friday afternoon, a black male with a black beanie cap wearing a nice, leather bomber jacket met him in the front yard. The guy had his hands in his pockets…it was cold outside. The two shook hands while Florio’s daughter remained in the car, eyes glued to her own phone, of course.

“Are you here for the iPhone X?” the guy asked.

Florio replied, “No, I’m here for the iPhone 8, man.”

“You got the money?” Mr. Craigslist asked.

“Of course. You got the phone?”

The guy didn’t have the phone Florio wanted, but said he had an iPhone X. “It’s a lot better. Come on back and I’ll show it to you.”

Florio told me that something didn’t feel right. The door to the house remained closed and looked secured and he saw no light on inside. The mailbox had mail peeking out as though it had not been checked for a day or two. With things not adding up, Florio began to turn away. “Nah, man. I’m not here for an X,” he told the man.

At that point, the supposed Craigslist seller drew a Smith snub-nose .38 revolver from his pocket. Watching the gun appear maybe three or four feet away, Florio knew he was suddenly way behind the curve. From his training and experience, he knew that drawing down against someone with a gun pointed at you is the perfect recipe for taking a bullet or three. So he left his SIG P320 in its holster.

Dangers of Craigslist "Bargains"

Instead, with his left hand, he lunged at the guy’s hand and grabbed the small revolver, pushing it down and away from him. Of course, Mr. Craigslist tried to wrest back control of the gun, but Florio then grabbed it with his right hand as well, keeping it pointed safely away.  While the two men struggled for control of the gun, Florio yelled for his daughter to call 9-1-1. She, however, froze in terror as she watched her dad fight for his life.

At some point, Mr. Craigslist then lamely claimed that someone tried to rob him a couple of days before, someone who looked a lot like Florio. Florio laughed at the guy’s assertion. “If I were here to rob you, I’d have brought my friends, not my daughter.”

Florio felt the front sight blade cut his fingers and knew the blood would soon make the gun too slippery to control. “I knew I needed a new plan and I needed it quick,” he told me. He stepped on the guy’s lower leg and pushed him backwards.  The armed robber fell back, off balance, and nearly went down.

Florio backed up a couple of steps, drew his SIG and pointed it at the guy. “If you move, I’ll shoot you!” he barked at the guy, his verbiage cleaned up for a more family-friendly read.

The man looked over his shoulder and saw the big P320 pointed his way…the now drop-safe SIG P320 that Florio says has an even better trigger than it did before.

Fortunately for the crook, he didn’t raise his snubbie or turn to face Florio. Instead, he ran off between the houses, with all deliberate speed. Collecting himself for a moment, Florio then called the police and reported the armed robbery attempt.

Sixteen minutes later, after no cops showed up, he called again. The dispatcher said that a unit would arrive when they got to his call.  He told them to go self-procreate and drove away, not wanting to wait around the area any longer for the robber to return and possibly ambush him.

Ten minutes later, a detective called and asked for Florio to come down to the station and give a report. Florio did, giving the cop all the particulars and looking at “about fifty” photos of local ne’er-do-wells. No luck.

“You know, you should have shot the mother….” the cop told Florio. Right in front of Florio’s 15-year-old daughter.

“Yeah, I don’t think so,” Florio said he told the cop. “You guys have lawyers and unions to protect you after you shoot a criminal. I don’t have any of that and don’t want to deal with the aftermath of shooting someone,” he told the cop.

With that, they shook hands and parted ways.

Two days later, on Sunday, another detective called Florio, asking for any additional details that might have been remembered since his initial interview.

“Tell me you got the guy!” Florio told the detective.

“Nope. Sorry. But we did have another guy show up to buy a laptop a few houses down a couple of hours later. He got robbed.”

Florio asked if they had a description in that case.

“That guy can’t talk. He took two to the chest and is still in intensive care right now.”

“Was it a .38?”

“Ballistics haven’t come back yet, but we’re still working the case.”

May everyone’s Christmas (or Hanukkah, as appropriate) bring nothing but good cheer and celebrations. Risking one’s life to find a bargain on Craigslist by dealing with a stranger can be a dangerous business. And even if you’re well trained and well-equipped, prudence demands not taking risks to save a few bucks.

 

comments

  1. avatar rc says:

    Craigslist is basically a criminal ambush app…had several people from my part of the woods ambushed and killed during Craigslist transactions just within the past 2 years. Basically, anything that sports a hippy peace symbol is utter crap and should be avoided.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      “hippy peace symbol” popularized by the 1960s KGB.

      1. avatar Bill Anders says:

        The Footprint of The American Chicken

    2. avatar ai338 says:

      They did something wrong, not craigslist.

    3. avatar JasonM says:

      I thought Craigslist was a tool for finding hookers and drugs.

      1. avatar Hank says:

        You’re thinking of ‘Backpage.com’. Er, or so I’ve been told (blush).

        1. avatar ozzallos says:

          Great site to turn around those firearms you need liquidated to buy other firearms… Or so I’m told.

  2. avatar Hank says:

    Well, good for him. That’s a hell of a fight and I’m glad he won. But, I’m gonna agree with the detective here. Shooting the perp would’ve prevented another innocent from being attacked. I get not wanting to deal with that, and all, but, there’s only one proven way to reduce recidivism. Death.

    1. avatar Matt says:

      Oh yea, you right, I’m sure he wouldn’t get second degree murder for shooting someone in the back as they are fleeing.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Well first of all, the attacker was standing still, not fleeing, and still had his revolver in-hand when the defender finally drew his handgun. Why the defender did not pull the trigger at that moment is beyond me.

        Second of all, if your attacker is still in your immediate proximity and still has his firearm in his hand, he is a credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm regardless of which direction he is facing or moving.

        Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and the above is not legal advice.

        1. avatar Matt says:

          “The armed robber fell back, off balance, and nearly went down.”
          Not on the ground on his feet still.

          “The man looked over his shoulder and saw the big P320 pointed his way”
          This means either his back or side is to Florio

          “Fortunately for the crook, he didn’t raise his snubbie or turn to face Florio”
          Again, either back or side is to Florio.

          Up to this point I would say you can argue very easily the man was still a credible threat.

          “Instead, he ran off between the houses, with all deliberate speed.”
          He is running away from Florio now, which would mean his back is now definitively towards Florio.

          At this point, shooting would be very ill advised, since combat has been disengaged, to reengage at this point would now make you the aggressor. You can try to argue he still posed a credible threat to the level of requiring deadly force while running away but I would not want to bet on that argument being my saving grace. An individual shooting in those circumstance I think is much worse off than a police officer shooting in those circumstances, not least of advantages is the huge amount of resources provided to a police officer for free for their defense. The minutiae of this of course varies by state, but those seem to be the general principles of self defense law, do no reengage of being disengaged.

          And likewise, I am not a lawyer. Does this reflect my opinion of how the law should be? No. It is simply my understanding of the law.

        2. avatar BigDaveinVT says:

          If Florio had fired he’d be doing it around and in between a number of houses, some of which may have been occupied. One errant shot and an innocent could have been injured or killed. If you don’t HAVE to take the shot, don’t. Also rule 4.

    2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      that’s one bone head name.

  3. avatar Jason says:

    Not to bash the subject of the article, but it’s now considered common sense that If you set up any sort of sales transaction with a stranger whether via the internet or old timey printed classified ads, meet in a busy, well lit, public place.

    Most of the police stations near where I live have actually opened up their lobbies for Craigslist sales etc.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      I’ve done several hundred of transactions from CL over the last decade+. A couple dozen in the in the high-4, low-5 figure range. Not even a hint of trouble.

      KNOW who you are dealing with. Talk to them, email with them. If you can’t figure out in 2 minutes if they’re sketchy, you shouldn’t be buying/selling anywhere but a retail store.

      I hate to Monday morning this, but was ‘Mr. Ohsoqualified’ hungover? Still drunk? On X? Trippin’ balls? Complete lack of the most basic level of situational awareness. If it’s so cold he has his hands in pockets, why is he in the yard waiting? House not obviously occupied? Didn’t know which item you were getting? Disappears in back of the house? This had more red flags waving than a May Day parade.

      Glad he escaped, but I hope he learned something. Because next time he may not be so lucky disarming the bad guy. Bruce Lee carried guns for a reason…

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        …And bring a friend or two with you (preferably strapped) for the transaction.

        The local sherriff’s dept. in my location has an area set up in front of one of their satellite offices with bright lights and video cameras for such occasions…

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        This.

        I buy and sell stuff on CL all the time, often also in the four digit price range. Never had a problem.

        That said I never do any of it unarmed and never go it alone.Bringing a 15 year old that you don’t know will follow instructions to a T is just dumb.

        Common sense ain’t so common.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          “Common sense ain’t so common.”

          Right?!?!?

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          it is anything but.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      For a cellphone you meet in the lobby of YOUR carrier. After YOUR carrier verifies that the POS used phone is not hot, THEN the seller gets your cash and hits the road.

      1. avatar anaxis says:

        Exactly so. Never bought a phone used, but if I did, that’d be the only way I’d do it.

      2. avatar Swarf says:

        I haven’t bought a used phone and have no plans to, but this is good advice and something I hadn’t thought of, thanks.

      3. avatar Montesa_VR says:

        That’s exactly how I bought my last iPhone. The guy at T-Mobile was super . He verified the phone was clean and walked the seller through all the steps to return it to unused condition. Everybody left happy. The phone was in as new condition and still functions perfectly today.

        You go to a private home to pick up a truck load of retaining wall blocks. You don’t go there for a cell phone, or a vehicle, or anything else that is mobile.

  4. avatar Chris says:

    At this point I feel like doing any dealing through CL is retarded and asking for trouble.

  5. avatar Anon in Ct says:

    I’ve done a fair number of Craigslist transactions over the years. Usually meet in a prominent place like a the busy rotunda outside my office, or a busy parking lot.

    Have had folks pick up furniture at my house, and also bought a fridge from a local person.

    1) I don’t go anywhere sketchy.

    2) I’m always armed.

    1. avatar How_Terrible says:

      Those should be everyone mandatory rules when doing any sort of face-to-face transaction that you have arranged with someone that you don’t know.

  6. avatar KenW says:

    Many police stations and sheriffs offices have a safe area to meet that have security cams and are usually right in front of the station. When I sold something recently I gave them the address of the local sheriffs office and told them I’d meet them there. Deal worked out well for both of us. They got what they wanted and I do not have to store it in the garage anymore.,

  7. avatar Wheel Gun Guy says:

    Bought stuff from CL all the time for many years and never had any problems……now that I have my Illinois CCL I carry all the time when I go to make a purchase from a Craigslist seller….I don’t see any more risk than answering a newspaper ad or an ad from a Thrifty Nickel flyer or buying a car from Cars.com or Auto trader sellers….I think that Craigslist has gotten a lot of bad press or maybe it too is fake news…..anyway I only make purchases from folks in small towns and from folks who live in fairly upscale neighborhoods…..I won’t go to Indy, St. Louis or the south side of Chicago for that matter…..if you are buying a car from a private party from out of town….meet at the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state your are transacting business and that includes all sources of advertisement not just Craigslist…..do business only during daylight hours and if I am selling stuff I usually sell on ebay so I don’t have strangers coming to my house….A little common sense goes a long ways.

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    Seriously Boch your buddy is a braindead idiot! Harvey?!? Really? I live in the southern suburbs. I trynot to even DRIVE through Harvey. Oh and I’ve been in EVERY hood of Chicago. Unarmed too(except I was a big guy then). And he called the po-leece? Possibly the most corrupt(after Ford Heights) cops in Illinois. End of rant…common sense is a thing.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      I haven’t lived in Chicagoland in almost 50 years. I only visit occasionally. I wouldn’t go to Harvey, especially for such a pathetically obvious trap.

      The more I think about it, this guy may be all trainer-fied, but you know what they say about those who can’t…

      1. avatar A O says:

        This article is missing too much. The writer seems to attempt glorifying the victim, “first”, but fails to do the research about where the transaction took place.

        16v is spot on.

        Harvey is one of the poorest, corrupt and violent south suburban hoods. Around 40% of the reisdences are abandoned or lived in by squatters. Drug abuse is horrific. The police are extremely corrupt (Ford Heights is being patrolled by Tommy Darts sheriffs), and their town leaders, mayor Kellogg (corn flake), is constantly defending himself from corruption accusations. This town can’t even pay its water bill. This towns biggest export: STDs from its numerous strip clubs.

        You go to Harvey to buy shit, your brain is shit. Bringing your daughter with makes you even less intelligent.

  9. avatar Rabbi says:

    Not too many years ago, we we told not to talk to strangers and not to get in the car with a stranger.

    Now, we are supposed to call a stranger and get in their car (Uber)

    My how the world has changed.

    Actually, it hasn’t. Strangers should remain that way.

  10. avatar ATTAG Reader says:

    A few years ago I bought an iPhone off Craigslist for the daughter from a woman in a parking lot. Would not even think of doing so today. Where I live (NC), the police headquarters parking lot with video cameras is a designated “safe” exchange location for private sales. I assume it would not be legal to do a firearms sale because it is “on the grounds of a public building” but I am not sure and have not asked the police. If the guns can be brought into the parking lot legally, there could not be a safer place for a firearms sale, assuming both parties are legal. Interestingly, I have purchased black rifles in various parking lots (Walmart, Gander Mountain, and even a defunct gas station), and never felt afraid of the sellers. One guy even brought his little boy to the event.

    1. avatar anaxis says:

      Yup….. ain’t much like making a good deal on a rifle off the tailgate of a pickup.

      Oddly though, all the best one I’ve ever found were being sold along with garden veggies, old hand-tools, and flea-market dinnerware, and lots of VHS tapes. And if there’s a rolled-up Indian blanket or two in the bed up by the cab, they’re usually keeping a long gun or three cozy.

  11. avatar Destro says:

    Harvey IL wasn’t a red flag?

  12. avatar Anonymous says:

    I’ve used Craigslist many times. But not at anyone’s house. Always at a very public place with lots of people and usually during the daytime. Usually a busy convenent store during the day.

  13. avatar Mark H says:

    Buying a used phone the biggest danger is that it isn’t paid off/stolen and the carrier will lock it out after the next payment is missed.

    If I’m buying a used phone they better be willing to meet me at the T-mobile store (or Verizon or ATT as applicable)

    1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

      +1

      I sell cell phones for a living and I don’t even bother buying used at all.

      They degrade so quickly these days generally within two years on average. Unless said owner had buyer’s remorse and literally just bought it unlocked, it isn’t worth buying used unless you know you are using it temporarily until you can get something better.

      You are honestly better off waiting for a deal from your carrier they are always having them left and right. Like a gun deal you just got to be patient and pounce when the time is right.

  14. avatar C4sir says:

    Went with my cousin once for him to sell his Cobb tuner. We met the guy in a large parking lot in the mall, day light. We got there early scope it out, and he was carrying a hi-power, myself an M&P C. It’s all about the preparation and location scouting goes a long way .

  15. avatar JW says:

    When I meet for such I offer to meet at the main door of a bank of the other guys choice during business hours. I then explain there are multiple cameras and fbi interest should a crime be committed.

    If they decline to meet – so do I.

  16. avatar strych9 says:

    So apparently we need to go the Notorious B.I.G. route and post the 10 Craigslist Commandments here.

    1) Location. Know it. Google Street view that shit if you can. Know your areas. Nice neighborhoods vs. bad ones.

    2) People. If they won’t actually talk to you on the phone, walk away. Also be alert to changes. You talk to a guy who sounds Asian but a white guy shows up? Make contact by phone, see if when you call the guy you’re watching picks up. If not; skedaddle.

    3) Especially for high priced stuff like cars, boats, motorcycles etc. do NOT show up cash in your pocket. Have it on your friend/buddy/wife or in your car but NOT ON YOU. If the first question is “You got the cash?” and your answer is “Yes” trouble is probably about to pop off. I don’t care if it’s $20 or $20K. With larger items like this, bring a Bill of Sale and sign it then go get the money from the bank after your test drive. You don’t have to really go to the bank, the dough can be hidden in your car but FFS don’t let anyone know that up front.

    4) Show up early and, as others have said, scout the area. Use some good judgement. If you don’t have good judgement go to Macy’s.

    5) Consider what you’re buying and what makes sense under those circumstances. You’re not going to meet in a well lit public area to do a transaction for a large item like a fridge or a motorcycle in most cases. But if someone is super insistent on treating the transaction like it’s for, say, a motorcycle which has to be ridden to/from or trailered and it’s for a small item that’s a red flag. You don’t need to meet them at their pad for a laptop they can move that around pretty easily.

    6) Never go alone but make sure the person going with you isn’t going to freeze like the kid in this story. The bigger and more biker-ey looking the person you can bring the better. No one wants to fuck with you if you bring a couple guys who look like Opie from SOA.

    7) Know your area codes or look them up. Most scams come from out of your locale area codes.

    8) Never accept anything other than CASH. If it ain’t cash it’s a scam. I don’t care how big or legit looking the cashier’s check is, you’re about to get fucked. There are lots of money shuffling scams out there and the one thing about every single one of them that’s true is this: you end up holding the bag. Bring a counterfeit detecting pen too and use it on EVERY bill $20 or larger.

    9) Know your valuations, and use proper judgement about them. Like most other things if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. $2500 worth of NIB Makita power tools for $300? At best it’s stolen merchandise but you’re also more to be walking into a robbery. Ditto that guy selling a $8000 bike for $1200. Unless he’s got a legit story about a divorce (this does happen) it’s not legit. Even if the story does hang together, be extra careful about “amazing deals”. Keep a sharp eye out for “baited hooks”.

    10) Use your situational awareness and your judgement. Other people hanging around and watching you is a no-go. The guy in front of you may not be the one to watch, keep your head on a swivel and make sure your friend(s) do too. Guy standing in the front yard like this when it’s cold? Sketchy.

  17. avatar ironicatbest says:

    The article sounds fictional

    1. avatar Joseph says:

      One hundred percent what I thought too.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I was having a hard time understanding how the front site of a snubbie revolver could cut anything.

    3. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

      I was mugged once for a pizza. I’m not low drag and high speed by any stretch, but I can smell a setup from a mile away after that.

  18. avatar drunkEODguy says:

    seemingly his training got him out of that situation, so that’s good. It would have been best not to be in it at all. Seems like his bullshit detector went off before he got too far into the deal or followed sketch-meister mugger somewhere even more isolated, still too late though. Hell, sounds like getting out of the car was a mistake.

    Also note police response. As all here know, the popo won’t save you. Even if they do decide to show up, and timely like, it’ll be too late. No one knows the police response time in a neighborhood better than it’s criminals.

  19. avatar Chadwick says:

    Yeah too bad it really is a life breaking experience to ventilate a POS trying to rob or kill someone. Honestly going after a law abiding citizen for shooting a robber is about the point in humanity that we should have stepped back and had a really hard look at ourselves. Taking these guys out in this situation could save many more lives. Their future victims would be safe and it would teach other thugs to think twice.

    Keep your head on a swivel this Christmas season folks.

  20. avatar 4808 N says:

    A friend of mine purchased a used iPhone on EBay. No muss no fuss no sketchy meet ups.

  21. avatar Joe R. says:

    Story written like a story.

  22. avatar ThatPedanticGuy says:

    This is why any time I’m meeting a stranger to exchange cash for goods I will only meet in the parking lot if the local cop shop. Period. It’s there or the deal isn’t getting done. My safety is worth more than a cheap (insert item here).

    1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      ^ this! Or at the very least a public place with lots of witnesses, and never let them lure you into an ambush in some other location!

      1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

        I’ve read stories in our local paper of cell phone deals being set to meet at a Starbucks. Then the would-be buyer just grabs it from the seller’s hands and runs.

        Your suggestion does make sense and it’s what I do. Still, these are inherently dangerous transactions which carry significant risk even if basic precautions are taken.

  23. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    perfect in too many ways.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YThnemVs0T8

    33% at poverty level.
    10% caucasian population.

    when the blues brothers destroyed the dixie square mall, it had already been closed.

    i wouldn’t go there to buy milk.

  24. avatar JS says:

    Sorry but that story feels made up.

  25. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

    I don’t recall ever having bought anything through CL, but I’ve sold a number of things over the years: textbooks, appliances, a car, a piano, and more. I even gave away an some old furniture that I just needed cleared out of a rental property quickly. There were one or two no shows at the agreed meeting place, maybe some last minute haggling after the price had already been agreed upon, but otherwise I never had any real trouble.

    Sketchiest situation was the car sale. I made the mistake of leaving the license plate visible in the pictures. Some weirdo had a cop buddy or otherwise access to that database and used the plate to get my home address. I came home to find this freako and some dead silent sidekick of his sitting in their hooptie in my driveway, leaking oil badly, waiting for me.

    We ended up doing the test drive, because they were already there and I didn’t want to spark anything. I talked the car down the whole way and kept my hand on my gun in my jacket pocket, because I just wanted them out of there quickly. We only went around the block and back and that was it. Never saw them again. I sold the car the next day to a college kid and his teenage brother who wanted it as a project for themselves. Then I pulled the ad down.

    1. avatar st381183 says:

      Why did you even go on the test drive? Tell them it’s broken down. Trying to maintain social niceties puts many a victim in harm’s way unnecessarily.

      1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

        Well, I had just driven up in it, so they knew it was running. Now, what I should be done is said that I had just returned from Carmax (which was true) and was going to accept their offer (which wasn’t true).

        Carmax only offered $750, but even in it’s condition, I knew that Honda Accord was worth about $2K or more in a fair deal. I got an even $2K from the brothers.

        The thing is I was pissed that Carmax was trying to screw me. I know they buy at a discount because they’ll then put some money in and re-sell. Still, they weren’t fair and I wanted the money it was worth. So I went with these two guys. It quickly felt different, though, so I changed strategy as above and got out of the situation.

  26. avatar st381183 says:

    Meet at the local police station parking lot. There’s no law against conducting lawful business there and should dissuade any nare-do-wells. Always go some place very public and be prepared to listen to your Spidey senses, go deal be d.a.m.n.e.d.

  27. avatar Gunr says:

    Sold quite a few cars in my many years. Here’s some tips.
    Never go for a test drive with anyone in the car but the prospective buyer. His girlfriend, who might be “Packing a piece, with a bullet just for you, can wait in their car.
    Never let the driver determine the route. He may drive right over to where his buddies are waiting to rob you, or maybe worse.
    Bring a friend with you, a friend with a gun.
    Talk price before you go on a drive, or anywhere else with this “stranger”. If he’s sincere, he should have cash with him, at least enough for a deposit, don’t be shy, ask to see the money, can you say “show me the money honey”. If he shows you a ten dollar bill, get rid of him!

    Same goes for selling real estate. Don’t let more than two people look at your house at the same time. If there’s more than two, one of them might lag behind just long enough to grab something valuable. It happened to me. and it can happen to you!

  28. avatar epickett says:

    Sounds like an unfortunate double standard. As a seller, you’re supposed to demand to see the cash beforehand. But as a buyer, never show the cash? Those two attitudes are at odds with each other. I’ve met people at a local drug store parking lot for stuff I was giving away, or small sales(like $20-$50). I sold one piece of electronics at the local police station, because I needed a place to plug the thing in and prove it worked. I got that idea from a guy I bought a music keyboard from a few years ago. The seller wanted to meet at his local station. I didn’t even know that was an OPTION until then…

  29. avatar ozzallos says:

    I’ve sold two firearms just in the last month on BP to fund a unicorn gun I was buying. It’s almost universally understood you meet somewhere neutral and populated; in my case the local Bass Pro. Speaking of cellphones, I also video recorded the entire transaction. Gotta love technology. Of course, I was armed as well.

    Personally, I won’t even give you a phone number unless you can demonstrate some level of competence over email first. Don’t even think i’m i’m going to give my number out to a misspelled train wreck of grammar and slang. Likewise, I have better things to do than to give my number out to every tire kicker whose only question is “what’s your lowest price?” aka “how desperate are you?”

    Anyway, yeah. Know where you’re meeting up. And realize that some items simply carry higher risk of shenanigans than others. I’m not worried about going to the guy’s house who’s selling the antique Chinese desk.

    1. avatar Tom Carlson says:

      Absolutely. No phone number. Just a burner email address.

  30. avatar Tom Carlson says:

    I have done 3 craigslist deals. 1 ended up great, 1 ended up bad, and one ended up so-so.

    Bought a boat for $3000. Looked it over. Handed over the money. Headed to the lake to learn the motor was shot. -1

    Won a bow. Met the guy at a well lit and busy gas station in a good part of town. Both parties happy. +1

    Advertised a boat. Put the ad up at about 1:00 am. Immediately had emails. Mad a list of the first guys who emailed. Called and guys wanted parts. I wanted to sell it as is. Got a guy set up to come to my house to pick up at 6:00 on the appointed day. Kept getting e-mails to ditch that guy and sell it for a bit more. I told everyone I had a list and if it fell through I would work my way through the list. The day comes and my wife called. Guy is early. I head home and exchange the boat for the cash. Felt good to have the rest of the day open. 6:00 rolls around and a guy shows up for the boat. Turns out some guy showed up early and sniped the boat out from under the other guy. I had never met either of them so I had no way of knowing. To the first guy who showed up I said are you “Dave”. He said yeah. I asked if he had cash. He handed it over. I felt bad but the money was the same.

    1. avatar ozzallos says:

      That’s some determined sniping right there. Almost admire the guy in an underhanded sort of way. That said, I might have sold it to him even if I knew the first guy wasn’t the intended party. Money is money, as you said. Craigslist and Backpage contacts fall through all the goddamn time.

  31. avatar little horn says:

    buyer is an idiot. you always meet in a public place. had an issue with a seller this weekend. he was all ready to go until i told him public place, never heard back.

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