Internet Sales Safety

Internet Sales Safety

The seller thought he found a solid buyer for his Lexus on Craigslist…

He arranged for the meeting at his home. They negotiated a price. The buyer asked to look at the title. The buyer suggested they go to the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) to have the names switched on the title. Together they drove the Lexus to the DMV. At the DMV, the seller signed the title. He handed it to the buyer. The buyer was running late for an appointment. They hurried to the seller’s residence, but were too late. The wife was leaving in the buyer’s vehicle. The buyer urged the seller to give him the keys of the Lexus. He promised to return with the money after his appointment. The seller handed over the key. Hours later, the seller told deputies, “I trusted the guy.” The buyer, with title in possession, never showed with money.

This seller had just fallen victim to a growing list of Craigslist thefts.

It's a worrisome trend that has prompted renewed warnings from authorities, who say criminals have been especially busy lately. In the news there have been victims robbed at gunpoint, but this crime is different. It’s simply a matter of a business transaction turned criminal. Now, with a signed title, sufficient enough as a bill of sale, the buyer has a new, and free, vehicle.

Tips for Arranging Meetings


Set up appointments during business hours if selling an item that requires a title transfer or the exchange of a large sum of money.


Insist on meeting in a public place in daylight hours.  Do not agree to meet someone at night.  The Sheriff's Office precinct parking lots may be utilized for the transaction to occur.  The transactions will not involve anyone from the Sheriff's Office and there are no reservations required.  Our parking lots are not official "Safe Sites" designed for these transactions, but rather a reasonably safer environment than the seller's home or a quiet side street.  There is a Mountains, South, and North precinct you may use for this purpose.

Let Someone Know

Tell a friend or family member where you're going.


Consider having a friend accompany you.


Take your cell phone.


Do not travel with large amounts of cash. Conduct large transactions at a financial institution where funds can be verified and quickly deposited. Never send or accept a wire transfer of funds. Read all disclaimers.


Do not sign over titles or hand over property until payment has been received and verified.

Be Careful

Trust your instincts - if anything seems suspicious, leave.