Frequent shopper offers tips for staying safe on Craigslist

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- This holiday shopping season, you may find those big sales inside the stores, but some say the best deals are online. The problem is, those cost savings can come with concerns.

"Trey" says he has purchased about 100 items from Craigslist during the past five years.

"Xboxes, MP3 players, amps, car stereos, subs, TVs, microphones," Trey said.

In fact, he recently posted an ad as he searched for a highly-coveted PS4 game.

He says he understands the risks involved when meeting a stranger to exchange cash of merchandise.

"They'll scope you out, see who you're with -- if you brought the item, you know what I'm saying? Then they'll wait and see if people come around or see how traffic is and if it ain't, then they'll rob you," Trey said.

The president and CEO of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau says 'tis the season for scams.

"Be very careful when you're making these quick transactions. The pressure of buying for your family and friends and getting a deal outweighs reasoning sometimes, and so this is the season when the scammers and crooks will try to take advantage of special pricing that tries to, you know, drive the reason out of your mind," Ran Hoth said.

Hoth suggests that when these private party sales start online, some prudent precautions can keep people safe.

"It's dog-eat-dog, you know. Any time a person has an opportunity to get over on somebody, they're gonna do it," Trey said.

Trey says he avoids sitting in a meeting location for any significant period of time and he never brings more money than he is prepared to spend.

He adds recently, police stations have become more popular as transaction locations.