Safe Selling
By Karla Rae

Buying and selling things through online marketplaces like Craigslist or OfferUp can be a convenient way of letting go of what you don’t need and finding what you want.  However, meeting people online to buy or sell items can be time consuming and risky. 

Here are some tips to make transactions as smooth as possible.

As a seller

1-Be honest about the quality and condition of the items you’re selling

2-Always include good photos

3-Discuss the price before you meet

4-Confirm that you only accept cash 

5-Decide how you can contact each other if needed

6-Tell the buyer in advance that you will confirm the meeting time and place the day of the sale and that if you don’t hear from them you will not show up

As a buyer

1-Read the entire ad and look at the photos

2-Ask questions and confirm the condition of the item

3-Discuss price and bring exact amount in cash

5-Decide how you can contact each other if needed

6-Confirm place and time to meet with the seller


If a transaction has to take place in your home or someone else’s home (for larger or heavier items), have someone with you and stay outside if possible.

If you’re meeting someone in person, Molalla Police Command Staff suggests that you, “Park in a well-lit, highly populated area. Let someone know your plans if you are going alone”.

Some online marketplaces have partnered with law enforcement agencies across the country to provide “safe zones” where people can conduct transactions under surveillance. 

Although the Molalla Police Department doesn’t have a designated safe area, they added “…we encourage people doing exchanges for items (and child custody exchanges) to park in front of our door because it is monitored by cameras – no sound. There is also a red 9-1-1 phone next to our door for emergencies.”

I have met dozens of people through selling items online. Almost all of my experiences have been pleasant and a few have been extraordinarily wonderful. I got hugs (pre-COVID19) from a family who drove all the way from Lincoln City to buy a dining room table and I was treated to an impromptu concert from a professional musician who bought a wooden flute.  I don’t expect the worst from strangers but, just as I’m a defensive driver, I try to maneuver every new encounter as safely as possible.