Craigslist is a valuable resource for business owners. You can sell your goods, find freelancers, make announcements and use it in other ways to promote your business. Many of the services available to users on Craigslist is free, which makes it a breeding ground for crime. You should use it, but do so cautiously.
Meetings with Freelancers and Contractors
One of the ways to use Craigslist for your business is to find and hire freelancers and contractors. You can facilitate the entire recruiting process online, but your business may be the type that requires a face-to-face meeting. There have been some instances of violent crimes as a result of people meeting in person after meeting on Craigslist. Use these safety guidelines before you meet someone in person:
- Don't meet at your home
- Let your spouse or friend know about the meeting
- Keep your home address confidential until you hire a freelancer, and only if it's necessary
- Meet in a public location that normally has at least a small crowd
- Park in front of the meeting place where staff and others can see you
- Make sure you're not followed home
These tips may seem over the top, but they can save your life. You never know who you're dealing with until you get to know them.
Don't post any personal information in your Craigslist ad. You need to post enough information about your business to hire someone or to promote your business. Find ways to give as much details as possible, including you web address, without listing your email address, telephone number or physical address. Identity thieves are always on the look to steal people's personal identities online, and they love to check Craigslist. Don't become one of their victims. Ignore requests to provide your credit card or bank account information or social security number. That's a sure way to get your identity stolen.
Buying from Vendors
Entrepreneurs use Craigslist to buy parts and goods from other vendors. You can find good deals, but you have to be careful of the scams. For example, if a vendor asks you to wire money, then it may be a scam. Craigslist warns users to never send any wired funds or use any wire service. You should either ask the vendor for their website information so that you can make a purchase from the vendor's ecommerce store, or arrange to meet them in person to buy what they're selling. Avoid vendors who claim to guarantee a transaction, and don't fall for any shipping services. You'll end up losing your money and giving up bank information that scammers will use to rob you.
Spam becomes a safety issue when you open an attachment or click on a link which leads to spyware on your computer. The two ways you get spam are by posting your email address in an ad, or responding to an ad that's posted by a spammer. Before you respond to an ad, try to determine whether it's legitimate. Look for an official web address in the ad, and go there to verify the ad or posting.
Don't be afraid to use Craigslist, just be careful. Use these safety guidelines when you're conducting business.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business.