The recent events that have unfurled in the news over the last few days about Ancaster resident Tom Bosma have been tragic. With unanswered questions as to why, it leaves many people who have considered selling items online to question the safety of making transactions in person. We have previously discussed how Internet and phone scams can confuse, disorient and harm older adults, but when it comes to our physical safety we tend to overlook that this too can be affected by our online activity.
“The vast majority of transactions arranged through Internet classified sites such as Kijiji, Craigslist and eBay are initiated by honest citizens looking to conduct legitimate business,” reports MSN. “The bustling world of online trade has plenty of pitfalls for both buyers and sellers, safety experts say, suggesting the classifieds landscape is more perilous now than when ads appeared in the newspaper.”
Const. Tony Vella of the Toronto Police Service advised that both buyers and sellers should take precautions when choosing to make an in-person transaction. “Sellers should be careful about the personal information they disclose on their ads,” he said, “No one should post details such as a home phone number that can be easily traced through a reverse lookup.” For older adults especially, who may not be as familiar with the online tools available to a potential scammer or criminal, following some simple safety tips, like the ones shared by CTV News, can help both buyers and sellers feel more in control of the situation.
The Internet is a world of connecting and networking. It enables us to shop, conduct business, socialize, organize, share and advertise. It is a realm of what sometimes seems to be infinite possibilities. The online world will be prevalent in our society for a long time to come, just remember, it’s never wrong to be too careful.