Friday, February 18, 2011

Craigslist / Safety / Lesson Learned

Who’s a user of Craisglist? You can find anything there: Event listings, sporting event and concert tickets, an old lamp, puppies up for adoption and even jobs. I have found 90% of my Event Planning gigs through Craigslist. I have even met photographers and was extras in films and music videos back in my modeling days with no problems. Earlier this week, I had an uncomfortable experience with a person seeking event planning services through a brief Craigslist posting. I replied, an email exchange occurred and a meeting was set up for Valentine’s Day in an office in Oakland. I emailed my fiancé the person’s contact information, when and where was my meeting just in case he cannot get a hold of me. You never know about meeting new people off the World Wide Web.

I arrived in the parking lot and texted my fiancé to let him know I arrived safely. The suite number or company that it occupied was NOT on the directory. Strange. The suite was in the middle of a long hallway, though well-lit, the suite number was written in with a marker. I hesitatingly knocked on the door three different times with no response. I stepped as close to the stairway and elevator to hastily exit if needed, then called and emailed the person I was exchanging emails with but the number did not match the name of the person I was supposed to meet with. No response to my phone call or email. I left after 15 minutes.

I then received an email the next day apologizing for this person forgetting the appointment. I responded that the experience made me very uncomfortable and requested additional information about her, her fiancé, her event needs, who’s phone number is attached her email, what kind of business is held in that office and other questions. No response.

I really don’t know if this person (without a last name) is genuinely sorry for forgetting about our appointment or some weird-o. I never want to feel that uncomfortable feeling again. I know it was stupid not to gather as much information about the person before setting up a meeting, so I will diligently be playing it safe. I have pulled in my very good friend to be a second person who will know where I am when meeting new potential clients. I also like that her father is a police officer. I will carry my pepper spray and require a meeting in a well-lit, public place, etc. I think self-defense classes are in order as well.

Call me paranoid but you never know who you’re dealing with when you meet people online, in a bar or even your own neighbor. Some may say that I blog about my personal experiences and life, I'm part of groups and communities, and I'm a social butterfly (not-so-much nowadays). Therefore THAT makes me vulnerable and I personally extended an invitation to lunatics? That's not fair. I'm just living my life, not hurting anyone, and someone else is wrong in wanting to take advantage of MY life and hurt ME. Uh-uh.

Just be wary that people aren't always what they seem. I have learned my lesson.

News articles:
The Craigslist Killer: Seven Days of Rage – April 20, 2010
Murder of Craigslist Seller Highlights Need for Safety Precautions - May 3, 2010
Sandra Cantu: Missing Tracy Girl - August 17, 2009
- The little girl played with a Sunday School teacher/killer’s, daughter.
Scott Peterson: The Pregnant Wife Killer - October 6, 2010
Registered Sex Offenders - Look up your city.

Resources:
Safe Internet Alliance


What safety precautions do you take for yourself and your family? In general and online?

2 comments:

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  2. Wow! How scary. I am glad that you found someone to join you on these first meetings. People are crazy these days.

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