Who doesn’t like a deal on wanted items?  It’s the sole reason sites like Craigslist, Letgo, and the Facebook Marketplace exist.  Crafters love reinventing secondhand items, but sometimes there is no desire to alter an item.  The deal is just too good to refuse.

Such was the thought of Michael Jones, of Columbus, Miss. He is said to have found a cheap used iPhone on Letgo and came to Alabama to purchase it.

His family tracked his phone after he failed to show up to work.  The journey ended in Bessemer, where Jones’ body was found Friday morning with gunshot wounds.  The case is under investigation, but so far no arrests have been made. Full story.

This is not to say that Jones’ demise was a result of the intent to purchase an item from a stranger.  However, the case brings to mind the dangers associated with such instances.

Facebook Marketplace encourages the following practices:

  • If you're meeting someone in person, we recommend arranging your meeting in a public, well-lit area or a police station. Let others know where you're headed. You can find a local law enforcement agency near you in the United States from the USACOPS directory.
  • Some Marketplace items are eligible for shipping. This means that you can buy and sell items from all over the United States, not just near your location. The seller directly ships items to the buyer.
  • If shipping isn't available for an item, you can use a pick-up or drop-off service that works for you.
  • Use online payment methods
  • Buyers and sellers can offer person-to-person payment methods (example: PayPal).

These are just a few methods that may be used to increase one’s safety, and they may not apply to all trading sites, but they are good base rules.

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