Texas Living

Safety First: Online Sales Are Easier, but Precautions Are Needed

By Paula Felps 6.16.15

Selling used and unwanted items no longer means dragging them to the front yard or driveway and spending hours waiting for buyers. Like so many other practices these days, the garage sale has gone virtual, thanks to websites like Craigslist, eBay, and even Facebook.

There are many advantages to selling your items online, including the fact that you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to watch strangers rummaging through your stuff.

In a Facebook sale, you can create a closed group, so you choose who joins, which means you typically know who you’re selling to. But when it comes to doing business online, there are certain safety precautions that need to be taken. And that goes beyond keeping your belongings safe; it means keeping yourself and your family safe as well.

Here are three ways experts recommend to ensure a scam-free, safe sale:

1.     Limit the amount of personal information you provide potential buyers, and also make sure your photos don’t include personal information about you, your family, or other possessions that might be attractive to thieves.

2.     Meet the buyer in a safe public place. The best place to meet? At the police station — and let the police know what you’re doing. This all but guarantees a safe transaction.

3.     Avoid letting the buyer come to your home. If that’s not possible, make sure you are not alone and that the exchange takes place outside and in a highly visible place, such as your front yard.