Dangers of buying from Craigslist in wake of recent criminal activity

Police say people need to play it safe when answering ads

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Most transactions on the popular site Craigslist involve meeting complete strangers. It could be risky business and The New Haven Police Department says if you’re not careful, you could become a victim.

“You don’t know people, these are not sites that can vet the people who are advertising, and there are things on Craigslist other than just items for sale,” said David Hartman, the Public Information Officer with the New Haven Police Department.

Crimes linked to Craigslist are still making headlines. New Haven native Felix Dejesus was robbed and shot to death after trying to sell an electronic tablet. Police said DeJesus arranged a meet up through Craigslist In May of 2013.

Police arrested Marvin Mathis and Rashad Moon. Court documents say Moon admitted to police it was his gun, but says Mathis pulled the trigger.

New Haven police said that people need to play it safe when answering ads on Craigslist. “Establish some type of dialogue, don’t go in blind, don’t go to an area that you are nor familiar with unless you had some type of dialog that you trust the person selling it,” Hartman said.

Robin Dorman answered a job advertised on Craigslist. She said the would-be manager sent her a bogus check and asked her for money. “He forged it from Fordham University,” Dorman said. “I called Fordham and they never heard of the man, they were looking into it, and the whole thing was fake.”

Others said they had similar shady experiences.New Haven police have advice on meeting a stranger from the online world.

“[Meet them during the] daytime, in a public place, a parking lot in front of a Stop and Shop, something like that,” Hartman said. When you are shopping retail you know what you are buying and who you are buying it from but when it comes to buying on Craigslist, police say it is a gamble.

“These are Vegas odds, there are people selling one thing once, so you really don’t know who you are dealing with,” Hartman said.

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