Perspective Newsletter

​  Downsizing? How to get rid of those unwanted items safely

A recent PEMCO Poll shows Northwesterners are a generous bunch! When we purge our belongings – whether it's cutting the clutter, sending kids off to college, or a full-scale downsizing – we mostly donate our discards to charity. But when we'd rather have the cash than the glow of giving? Two-thirds of us turn to websites like Craigslist or apps like OfferUp.

Each year, millions of online sales go through without a hitch. Still, it's tough to ignore headline-grabbing horror stories about scams, robberies, and worse. If you're planning to sell online, our safety experts remind you:

  • Ignore anyone who wants you to ship the item. Keep it local, cash only. Avoid money wires or fund transfers.
  • Don't go to a stranger's home and don't allow strangers into yours. Many police stations offer SafeTrade Stations, which are a better choice than meeting at a coffee shop or mall.
  • Bring a buddy. Also tell someone where you're going and when you expect to return home.
  • Dress to unimpress. Leave the designer clothes, jewelry, and high heels at home. Your look shouldn't scream "fat bank account." Dress for comfort – and the ability to run if, heaven forbid, it comes to that.
  • If it's furniture (and you must meet at home), at least move it to the garage or porch. And don't meet the buyer alone.
  • Post oodles of photos and don't downplay wear or damage. A misled buyer can turn into an angry (scary) buyer.
  • If something feels off, trust your instincts and don't follow through.
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