Saturday, May 1, 2010

Craiglist Killers

Craigslist started off with good intentions and I was one of  its biggest fans.
Friends and family were buying and selling like crazy.

I recall being at one relative's house for  dinner, when the doorbell rang.
It was someone who wanted to buy something that a resident of the home was selling.
I recall looking at the unkempt, bearded, odd stranger and thinking..." geesh, how dangerous is this?"
I didn't feel it was my house, I was guest, so I kept my mouth shut.

Fair enough.
Back then Craigslist was as much fun as the early days of the internet bubble.
An joyous, prosperous ride until... the bubble burst.
And I am here to say, I believe Craigslists' bubble done burst and it's leaking blood.

Yet most people are still  oblivious to the fact that there are no safety defaults built into the system.
Anyone can sell... anyone can buy... anyone can post on Craigslist.
And in this tanking economy, Craigslist is keeping so many people financially afloat.

Lust know, even when your Craigslist  business can be done by email, snail mail or phone, there is still a huge fraud factor to consider.
The list abounds with misrepresented products, false checks or payments that never arrive.
There are houses being advertised for rent that are duplicate ads of real ones that real people place.
The duplicate ads place a better price, capture your money.... and leave the legitimate landlord or seller  up the creek.

The intent of the Craiglist criminals are to capture your interest and then take your money, property, identity...or your life.

There are jobs being advertised on Craigslist that ask you to run and pay for your own credit report and send it, along with your resume, to the "alleged" employer. I say alleged, because in those cases the employers are crooks, scammers, thieves.
Do not do this. Do not run your credit report, pay for it and send it to someone on Craigslist.

If a job you are applying for require you pay and application fee, I'd grab the nearest 10 foot pole and vault away.

It's like those strange letters we get emailed every now and then -- the ones that say:
"You've won the lottery just fill out this form, deposit our $1,000,000 check and send us just 4k back"
Or ,"I am the King's daughter and need help cashing a check."
Every minute, every hour, someone bites at the baited hooks on Craigslist.
Sometimes you see the bait, sometimes you don't.

But now things have escalated.

Only recently are we hearing about murders directly linked to Craigslist. One made the national news when a college guy with great parents, good  looks and limitless professional potential, repeatedly abused and  killed women/escorts he lured to hotel rooms by pretending to be a customer.

Maybe that didn't shake people up enough.
Maybe they thought only hookers get killed,so if you're not a hooker, Craigslist is just fine.
This is not the case.
Recent events here Western Washington have shown the bad guy factor is growing exponentially on Craigslist.

Just days ago, a very good man who lives here in the Northwest, James Sanders, was gathering extra money for a vacation by selling things on Craiglist. James is also called affectionately called Jim or Jimmy by those who knew and loved him.

James was a very decent, hardworking guy, w wonderful husband and fabulous father of two sons. He had a great sense of humor and a great deal of compassion.
He was loved by many.
He was more kind than rich.
And all he wanted was extra cash to  make his family's upcoming vacation even more special.

So he advertised on Craiglist and James was killed in front of his two young sons and wife when a troupe of killers came to his home.

One of James son's was pistol-whipped in front of his dad. It was dad's instinctual defense of his kid, I suspect, or simply a lust for killing, that likely contributed to two bullets fatal to dad, one in the head.The family watched dad die.

The 911 calls were released yesterday to the media. First there is the call from one stunned son. Then, his mother James'  wife calls. They are horrifying to hear.

I am using this blog today to do a couple of things.
First, to advise you to trust no one you do business with on Craigslist.
Many will disagree with me and I don't care.
This is one deadly serious "Buyer/Seller Beware" warning.
That would be: Place a Code Red on Craiglist.

Many will argue there are huge benefits to Craigslist... that the good outweighs the bad... and nothing I say will keep anyone from using it.
I can however, offer these suggestions to stay safer.

When you sell something on Craiglists, invite no one to your home. Meet them, if you must, in a highly visible public place. I'd choose the parking lot of a police station personally.

When you buy something on Craisglist, the same principle above applie.s

And when you apply for an job, or find a place to rent or sell on Craigslist, do not provide anyone with any credit reports.
Do not pay any job fees.
You've got a computer if you use Craig list. Go to your county assessor's or recorders office online to find out if the owner is who says he/she is.
Above and beyond all else, do not do anything your gut senses isn't right.

This is a link to an article about the most recent local Craigslist home invasion/robbery/killing.
This case is linked to another here. Pictures of the perps are floating all over the net.
Study the faces,hair style, clothes,tattoos.
You may recognize, know one of them.
Or maybe someone you just saw looks like  them.
The second you think you've sighted any of these people, turn them in by calling 911 or CrimeStoppers.

Please open your eyes and be ever vigilant.
Maybe you could be the person who spots one of these killers..
It's often the community who turns in criminals.
And it's often the families and friends who provide safe harbor for unsafe people  because some rationalize, others prefer to float in their rivers of denial.

Here's a link to a recent story about James Sander's killers who are still on the loose as of this posting.

Click here: Link to Fatal Craiglist Home Invasions

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