Last week, I had a bizarre experience on Facebook's online marketplace after a very suspicious person commented multiple times on a listing I made there. I played it safe and decided not to go through with the sale and blocked the specific person. You never know on the Internet these days who is real and who is trying to take advantage of you. Here are five things you should know when using Facebook Marketplace.

NEVER give ANY personal information if possible.

Credit: Trent Flager, Townsquare Media
Credit: Trent Flager, Townsquare Media
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The person buying from you is using Facebook, a communication platform, to buy your item, so they shouldn't need your phone number. Don't give it to them. Also, don't give anyone your address unless you can't haul the item in question to a public location. If that's the case, provide them with the address on the day of the transaction, and make sure you stay at your home until the transaction is complete.

Meet somewhere well-lit and public if possible.

If the item is able to be taken somewhere public, that's the best-case scenario. Public parking lots are the best, because they're well lit, even at night, and they usually have security cameras. One commenter on my post recommended Scheels on the West End because they have a 24-hour pick-up area that exclusively has a camera pointed at it.

Make sure to receive payment before you give the buyer your item.

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash
Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash
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In the age of the Internet, people don't need cash to make payments, they could just send it over apps such as PayPal, Venmo, or CashApp. But, they could send it at any time. When in doubt, don't hand over your item until you have the money. Of course, when possible, ask for cash. That's the easiest form of payment across the board.

If you're unsure of someone, ask around.

Chances are that others on the Facebook group have seen or dealt with the person that's giving you a bad vibe. Ask your friends if they trust them. There's nothing wrong with validating someone through someone else, especially online, where anyone could be anyone.

Finally, trust your gut.

Credit: Trent Flager, Townsquare Media
Credit: Trent Flager, Townsquare Media
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As one commenter on my post put it, "If it smells like poop and looks like poop, it's probably poop." You have the ultimate decision on whether you should deal with something suspicious or not. It's better to be safe than sorry, so trust your gut and do what you think is right.

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Facebook Marketplace is a wonderful resource to use. But, it's super important to stay safe and make sure you don't give away any crucial information. Look out for each other, folks.

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