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BBB cautions public who use Craigslist

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is advising the public to practice caution when using the online service Craigslist and others like it.

"There are certainly deals to be found online, but it's good for both buyers and sellers to remember they're usually dealing with people unfamiliar to them," said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB. "There are risks involved and we feel it's very important that people take the time to pause and consider both their personal and financial security."

Here are some basic tips from the BBB in regard to using sites like Craigslist:

• Try to deal with local buyers and sellers.

• Never wire funds.

• Use caution when using an escrow service - make sure it's reputable by checking them out at

• Never give out your Social Security or personal financial information.

• Don't apply for jobs that require a payment.

• Apartment or home rentals should be thoroughly checked out and inspected in person before money is put down.

• Consider the risks involved with selling a high value item yourself and weigh that against any extra profit you might make. Is it worth it?

As in life, most of the people you deal with when buying or selling household goods on sites like Craigslist are honest. However, there are those who see these sites as an opportunity to commit crimes. The BBB advises everyone who uses websites like these to make sure they're doing everything they can to protect themselves.