When you’re meeting with a buyer or seller in person, it’s important to take sensible 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? Is this person 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, but instead finding a neutral location to conduct your trades.
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 provide 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 to the MeetUp or if you need to reschedule.
Beware last-minute requests to relocate
When you agree on a MeetUp Spot, be cautious of last-minute requests to change the meeting location. This is a tactic that scammers use 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.
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 alone, make sure to tell someone you trust where you’re going prior to your MeetUp and give them the exact address.
Inspect items before paying
If you’re the buyer, be sure to inspect an item thoroughly and address any issues with the seller before you pay for it. For example, if you’re buying electronics, see if you can test them out first or plug them in inside a local business. Be diligent to make sure the item is what you expect before you hand over the cash.
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, app-based payments like PayPal or Zelle, cryptocurrency, and other payment methods. Anything other than cash is risky and you want to be sure you get paid. For a smooth transaction, discuss and agree to a cash payment 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 go to a MeetUp if it doesn’t feel right
Most importantly, if something feels off, trust your instincts. Don’t meet if it doesn’t feel safe. If you’re interacting with someone suspicious, help protect our community by reporting them to OfferUp.