Many of us have had a weird or downright awful Craigslist encounter. They can scar our psyches, but they usually don’t make headlines.
But in the past month, a series of Craigslist robberies around the Bay Area are “flagging” attention from local police enforcement, who are advising Internet users to be extra careful when buying or selling items off the popular website.
In the latest string of thefts, two separate people were robbed at gunpoint in Oakland on Friday after responding to ads to purchase goods.
And earlier this week, a married couple from Fremont looking to buy a 2003 Mercedez-Benz were jacked of $8,500 at gunpoint and left stranded on an Oakland freeway.
Dubbed by police as “robberies by appointment,” these lowlifes will usually advertise high luxury goods, electronics and cars. Once they lure their customer-slash-victims from behind the computer to meet in real life, that’s when the guns come out.
Police advise potential buyers to take similar precautions one would take when camping alone or going on a blind date:
- Meet in a public location. No secluded areas, no private homes, no excuses. Be wary if the seller changes the location last minute.
- Bring small amounts of cash. Carry a cashier’s check or money order instead.
- Tell your friends and family where you’ll be meeting and with whom.
- Bring a buddy (or three) with you.
- And finally, trust that little inner voice inside of you. If something seems weird, get the heck out of there.