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Craigslist weaknesses exploited in Noble County crimes
November 20, 2011 - Art Smith
Last week a man had to apparently run for his life after being the victim of what officials believe was a plot to murder and rob him after in answered an ad for employment on Craigslist. Another man apparently died after answering the same ad.
Craigslist is a mostly free classified service that operates in a mostly unmonitored fashion nationwide. I have a big problem with Craigslist for a couple of reasons. It operates in what is normally a “free” mode, and because of this there is no built in verification that a person is indeed who they say they are.
List an item on e-bay and there is a record of your credit card information. The same holds true if you buy an ad in the newspaper. Provide a credit card number, which is traceable to someone, and I think the average criminal would be less likely to committee a crime.
All Craigslist requires is a valid e-mail address, which can be obtained, without any real verification at any number of free e-mail sites.
Craigslist also works mainly by promoting direct contact between the buyers and the sellers. Newspapers offer blind boxes. Ebay works hard at hiding both parties until the transition is completed and the item needs shipped.
A pair of males from the Akron area apparently used rural southeastern Ohio last week to mask their sinister plot to rob and murder people who were guilty of nothing more than wanting a job.
The plot, as outline by law enforcement seemed elaborate. Place an ad on Craigslist for an area far from your own home, get the victim out of their car and then finally get them into the woods in an isolated and completely unfamiliar area and then do the unthinkable to them.
In other instances the crimes have been against the sellers, with people being robbed of the very item that they are selling. The simplicity and anonymous nature of Craigslist seems to make it a magnet for bad people.
Whenever you agree to meet anyone from any ad make sure you do so in the safest way possible, and remember if the deal is too good be true, it likely is.
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