Greetings fellow Street Survivors. We’ve talked on these pages many times about various threats to your personal and family safety using technological platforms, from baby monitors to home personal computers. Social media in its various forms has started to replace actual person to person communication, which is a very sad turn of events. How many times have you gone to a restaurant and witnessed a small group of people sitting at a table, all staring at their smart phones and ignoring the people they’re actually with ? This problem spans all age groups as well, it’s not just the younger generations.
The focus of today’s article has more to do with online services like Craigslist, and the threats to both your physical safety and keeping your personal financial information safe. When you buy or sell an item online that requires a personal meet-up, you must be prepared for anything. There are over a hundred documented murders related to Craigslist meets. You should always bring another person with you, rather than go alone, and always meet during the day, never at night. I would recommend meeting at a public place never a secluded location. If the buyer/seller that you are meeting wants you to follow them to another location, that’s a major red flag. You should cancel the sale with that person rather than follow them into a possible trap. If they were serious they should have brought the item or the money with them in the first place. Of course, I always believe in carrying a weapon in public even if it’s just a tactical pen, so don’t meet empty handed.
The additional threat of having your personal financial information stolen is even more common. Recently a friend of mine was trying to rent a house in a local community from an online source and ended up being robbed of a few thousand dollars along with about ten others from the same scammer. The police are tracking leads but it’s very hard to get that money back. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, so listen to your sixth sense. Never, ever use wire-transfers like MoneyGram or Western Union and be aware of fake money orders and cashier’s checks. According to Craigslist by buying locally and meeting the buyer or seller in person, you’ll eliminate over 90% of the scams. Also, Craigslist is never involved directly in the transaction, so any requests for account info or personal info that looks like it’s coming from Craigslist, is a scam.
Finally, any expensive purchases or rentals should always be seen and inspected before purchasing. My friend never saw the inside of the home she wanted to rent, as she was told the family still lived there. That should have been a major red-flag along with several others like paying for a full year of landscaping and maintenance services in advance along with 2 months rent and a security deposit, all in advance. The full amount had to be wire-transferred to the minister that was managing the property, so they even threw religion into the scam to sell it! When it comes to the internet, what you see is seldom what you get, always be wary and use your best judgement. Ask a lot of questions that only the real owner would know and if the answers come slow or sound made-up, pass.
Rick ‘Pirate Hunter’ Grover strongly believes we’re all in this together, and the more we learn and train, the better we’ll be prepared for any eventuality. This makes all of us part of an amazing neighborhood team of American Patriots. God Bless America ! Drop us a comment or question at email: StreeTactics@gmail.com