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4 Tips for a Safe Craigslist Exchange

4 Tips for a Safe Craigslist Exchange | The Secure Dad

As the holiday season approaches it’s time to think about your security when shopping, especially when it comes to a Craigslist exchange. Whether you’re selling or buying, you need to protect yourself when making the exchange. Here are 4 ways to be safe when making an internet purchase exchange.

1) Use a Safe Zone

Internet purchase exchange zones are popping up all over the country. These zones are designated places where an internet purchase can take place in public and on camera. Mostly these zones are at law enforcement buildings and are free to use.

If someone refuses to meet at a safe zone during daylight, then stop communicating with them. If they won’t agree to meet safely, then you don’t need to have anything to do with them. You may get all sorts of heartbreaking excuses, but don’t give in.

Don’t know how to find an internet purchase exchange zone? You can search a massive database called Safe Deal Zone.

Image Source: Herald Guide

2) Protect Your Identity

Craigslist is pretty good about protecting your identity. Never post your name, address or phone number in any posting. While Craigslist protects its users to a certain degree, Facebook Marketplace doesn’t.

I don’t recommend using Facebook Marketplace at all. My reasoning is based on your profile. When someone sees what you have for sale, they also see your name, face, city, state and maybe even your workplace. And if that were not enough there’s a map showing your radius where you published your listing.

3) Don’t Go Alone

Do not assume that just because you’ve protected your identity and are meeting at a safe zone that you are 100% safe. Take an adult with you. Never buy or sell alone. The more people there are, the harder it becomes for someone to rob or kidnap you. Also two sets of eyes are better. You can communicate with your seller while your friend watches your back.

4) Don’t Go Home

Don’t go home directly after a meeting. Go to a public place with lots of people like a grocery store and do your shopping. The longer your task the better as the potential robbers will get frustrated the longer you take. This will increase the chances they’ll give up and move on

Home Security Checklist | The Secure Dad

If you received money during an exchange take it right to the bank. Leave the safe zone and go right to the drive through teller window. Deposit the money to keep it safe and to show anyone following you that you no longer have the cash. If it’s a weekend or you don’t want to deposit the money, go to the ATM. Make a transaction and then go to another public place. By stopping at the ATM it may look like you deposited the money letting anyone following you know that you are no longer in possession of the cash.

I’m not a big fan of buying and selling on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. But that’s just me. If you’re considering doing this, please use these tips to stay safe.

For more on internet purchases exchanges, check out The Secure Dad 101: How to Make a Craigslist Exchange. To learn other ways to keep your family safe, consider The Secure Dad Newsletter.


Andy Murphy

Andy Murphy founded The Secure Dad in 2016 with the aspiration to help families live safer, happier lives. What started as a personal blog about family safety has turned into an award-winning podcast, an Amazon best-selling book, and online courses. He focuses his efforts in the areas of home security, situational awareness, and online safety.


Andy is a husband and father. His interests include coaching youth basketball, hiking, and trying to figure out his 3D printer.

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