Safety tips for meeting up

When you meet with a buyer or seller in person, it’s important to take precautions to stay safe and avoid scams. Here are some tips to help you have a positive MeetUp experience.

Research the person before meeting up

Before you decide to meet with someone, do a little digging into who they are. Check out their OfferUp profile to see what kind of reputation they have within the community. Look for things like how many items they’ve sold, their star rating, and what others have said about them in reviews. Also, look carefully at their listings. Do they provide enough detail about their items? Do they post real photos of the items or just stock photos? Are they quick to respond to your questions? Make sure you feel completely comfortable before you arrange an in-person MeetUp.

Suggest a MeetUp location

If you’re ready to meet in person, you’ll need to pick a location where you feel safe to conduct the transaction. We recommend using our mobile app to find an official Community MeetUp Spot. However, we understand that these options may not work for everyone. If you’re meeting at an unofficial location, just make sure to choose a public place with lots of people, good lighting, and camera surveillance if possible. Great options include shopping malls, coffee shops, and grocery stores. For your safety, we don’t recommend meeting at your home. Instead, try to find a neutral location to conduct your trades.

Tip!

Is your item too big or too heavy to transport? Consider meeting the buyer at a MeetUp Spot first. Then, if you feel comfortable with them, you can share the item's exact location for easy pickup.

Meet during normal business hours

Whenever you can, schedule your MeetUps to take place during regular business hours, preferably in daylight. Most Community MeetUp Spots are situated in front of local businesses or police stations. When they’re open for business, they tend to get more foot traffic and give you a safe place to seek shelter if needed.

Communicate through the app

When you’re scheduling a MeetUp with someone, don’t give out your phone number or email. Instead, stay in touch through OfferUp messaging. Messaging through our service keeps your contact details private and prevents scammers from gaining access to your sensitive account information. OfferUp messaging is as easy as texting and allows you to quickly communicate changes, like if you’re running late or if you need to reschedule.

Beware of last-minute requests to relocate

When you agree on a MeetUp Spot, be cautious of last-minute requests to change the meeting location. Sometimes, scammers use this tactic to lure people to unsafe locations.

For example, the other person may message you 5 minutes before your MeetUp to say they’re having car trouble. Then, they’ll ask you to come to a new location. To protect yourself from these types of scams, always decline last-minute requests to relocate or to follow someone to a different location.

Tip!

To check if a location is an official Community MeetUp Spot, use the OfferUp Safe Trade Spots Locator. This website shows you all officially vetted Community MeetUp Spots across the US. Simply enter an address to see if it’s on the list.

Don’t go alone

If you can avoid it, don’t go to a MeetUp alone. Bring a friend or family member just in case. If you must go by yourself, make sure to tell someone you trust where you’re going prior to your MeetUp. It's also a good idea to give them the exact address or share your location with them on your smartphone.

Inspect items carefully

If you’re the buyer, be sure to inspect an item thoroughly and address any issues with the seller on the spot. For example, if you’re buying electronics, test them out or plug them in inside a safe location to make sure they work as expected. If there’s a problem, discuss it with the seller to see if you can come to an agreement or renegotiate the price.

Don’t pay in advance

If you’re the buyer, avoid sellers who ask you to pay in advance or to send a down payment. Paying before a MeetUp puts you at risk for fraud and payment scams. For the safest experience, always pay in person after you’ve inspected the item and determined it’s what you want.

Only accept cash

If you’re the seller, we recommend that you only accept cash payments for your item. To prevent scams, avoid accepting checks, gift cards, wire transfers, cryptocurrency, and other payment methods. App-based payment methods like PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo are safer than a check or a gift card but still carry risks. For a smooth transaction, discuss and agree on a payment method before you meet with the buyer so there are no surprises.

In case of emergency, call 911

If you’re at a MeetUp and there’s an emergency or you feel you’re in danger, call 911 right away. If necessary, seek shelter in a nearby business until authorities arrive.

Don’t meet if it doesn’t feel right

Most importantly, if something feels off, trust your instincts. Don’t go to a MeetUp if it doesn’t feel safe. If you’re interacting with someone suspicious, help protect our community by reporting them to OfferUp.

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