String of armed robberies plague OfferUp users

By Greg Collier

Too many people seem to think that marketplace app isn’t as dangerous as Craigslist just because it’s a modern looking app. While OfferUp doesn’t have the body count that Craigslist does, that only means that OfferUp hasn’t been around as long as Craigslist has. OfferUp has had its share of murders as well, but again, nowhere near the numbers that Craigslist. That’s not to say that OfferUp won’t catch up to Craigslist, given enough time. At least anecdotally, Craigslist related homicides seem to be on the way down, while OfferUp seems to be picking up the slack.

The majority of OfferUp related homicides start out as armed robberies, then for some reason or another, the bullets start flying. These armed robberies have become such a problem that the police force of a major metropolitan city has issued a warning to its citizens. In Seattle, the police department has issued a warning to residents after a string of victims were robbed at gunpoint at what the victims thought were car sales.

This is an old tactic that goes back to the Craigslist days. Thieves will post an ad for a car being for sale. Some thieves will use expensive cars as the lure, while others will offer a more affordable car being offered at a below-market price. The goal is to get the victims to bring large amounts of cash with them to the exchange. Victims are then robbed of this cash along with other valuables, including sometimes the car itself. As we stated previously, too many times these robberies easily can turn into murders.

Most people will tell you that you’ll be safe if you just meet in a public place during the day. Those rules don’t apply anymore. People have been robbed and killed in broad daylight on busy streets. The best way to make any in-person marketplace exchange is at a local police department. While it’s not 100% effective, it goes a long way in discouraging bad actors from trying to get the jump on you. Many police departments even have areas set up for just such exchanges. Every ad on has a link to SafeTrade Stations, where you can find a police station near you.

We also understand that there are segments of the population who may not feel comfortable going to a police station to make their exchanges. We understand your hesitation. For extra security and safety, we recommend still going to the police station, but take someone with you who can record the transaction on their phone.

We wish the world wasn’t like this, that we could just go to a shopping center parking lot and make our exchanges. Unfortunately, too many people look to take advantage of the civility of their victims.