If you submitted your tax return early, have some extra money in your pocket, and want to replace your couch or TV, looking through the classified ads or going on a site like Craigslist can be an easy and affordable way to make some new additions to your furniture or entertainment options.
After you’ve gotten in touch with the seller and agreed on a price, however, setting up a place to meet and complete the purchase can be a dangerous situation if you’re not careful. Use the following tips to help ensure that you’re as safe as possible when setting up an exchange.
Meet in public places. Whenever possible, set up the exchanges in a public place, as opposed to meeting at someone’s house. You’re much safer in a busy restaurant or parking lot than at a stranger’s house.
Don’t go alone. You should always bring someone else with you when you meet to exchange, especially if you’re not able to meet in public. At the absolute minimum, make sure a friend or family member knows where you’re going and how long you should be.
Don’t bring any extra cash. Carry with you only the exact amount of money you’ve agreed upon with the seller. There’s no need to risk having anything else taken if things go poorly.
Meet during the day. On top of meeting out in public, meeting when it’s light out is another way to ensure you stay as safe as possible.
[Ben Boltinghouse is a sergeant with Parkland’s Department of Public Safety.]