7 ways to stay safe while buying or selling online

Over the last few years, we've seen multiple incidents of buyers and sellers on Craigslist who suddenly found themselves in the midst of danger.

Law enforcement officials say if you are going to buy or sell anything online, there are seven things you can do to keep yourself safe:

Meet at a police station
Beyond the usual advice to meet in a public place, meeting in the parking lot of a police station to make your transaction only adds an extra layer of security.

Try the product out first
If you are trying to buy an electronic item or something that could be broken, ask for a demonstration. If the seller hesitates, this probably isn't the deal for you.

Bring backup
Never meet someone you don't know from Craigslist by yourself. Bring a friend or family member with you. This lessens the likelihood of being attacked.

Only bring enough cash for the purchase
If a seller demands an online transfer or payment before you meet to get the product, don't do it. Also, never carry large amounts of cash with you.

Try to get a detailed receipt
While most sales are final, if something goes wrong with the product, a proof of purchase might help you get it fixed or swapped for a new product.

Don't give out your information
Since you will be meeting someone at a public place, there is no need for a buyer or seller to know your home address. You can furnish an email address if you are comfortable.

Trust your gut
If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Also, if anything the seller or buyer says raises a red flag, it's probably best to go with your instincts and move on.

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