The single most practical step to protect yourself if you buy and sell online is to get a mailbox service.
Ebay, Poshmark, Depop, Mercari, Etsy are all great ways to buy and sell repurposed items online. However, shipping something does expose the address of the buyer and seller. With a somewhat simple step you can eliminate the risk of someone, anyone, buying from you or your family, and showing up at your home.
We know the risks of answering online ads for buying something off Craigslist. The email platform is anonymous, and the meeting is between you and a random stranger in a non-descript place. OfferUp and NextDoor have a few safeguards in place; both buyer and seller have a profile and can be rated for the transaction. NextDoor requires a few more steps.
For buying and selling online, there are many platforms available that make the process of buying and selling items easy.
If you’ve ever scrolled through these online marketplaces, you’ll see an array of clothes, shoes, and items being resold. It’s rather easy, snap a few pictures, fill in the details and minutes later your item is posted and reaches thousands of people. Some people are just cleaning out their closet, others have turned selling into a profitable side business. The platform promotes entrepreneurial creativity and is a terrific way to find unique items for a fraction of the cost.
If you or anyone in your family, your daughter or son, buys or sells on online, get a mailbox address.
They can range in cost depending on the region and what services you want included, some basic Post Office Box addresses don’t accept packages by default, but a premium service will, and a mailbox rental service does also. Almost every city and town has at least one. This article on Wallet Hacks has some great tips and information.
Peace of mind comes with using a different address for deliveries, and may outweigh the cost and hassle of using postal box.
Another tip is to use a pseudonym or nickname, and not list your full name in the To/From address bar. When you pay through Paypal, your name comes up as default. A workaround this is taking the extra step and changing how your name appears in paypal or on the platfrom you’re buying from. Paypal has a forum that answers this question.
I like shopping on online platforms such as these, and they offer excellent ways for young, dynamic entrepreneurs to learn savvy business techniques. However, there is no way to know who is looking at your profile and images. Many sellers cater to the needs of shoppers who want to see images of the clothes being modeled; I’m more likely to buy an item if I can see how it looks being worn. Predators can just as easily go onto these platforms, scroll through the adverts, see someone, purchase, and show up at your place of residence. There is no screening. Your address is out there and it leads them right to you. It doesn’t matter if you live in a smaller suburban area or a larger urban metropolis, predators spend hours searching and platforms like these.
For more tips on protecting yourself or your family from sex predators, visit these articles in my blog.