There is a tragic story to report out of Kansas City, Kansas tonight. Oune Somsanith, a 45 year old husband and father of five from Lee’s Summit, MO was tragically shot and killed during a meeting to purchase an iPhone 7 off of Letgo. As a father myself, my heart hurts for this man’s family. It just seems impossible to explain such senseless violence.
I am posting this story because we are only a couple of months from that time of year when many of us will be selling off old devices online to make way for the new. One of the reasons this report hit home with me is because I have taken part in MANY Craigslist sales involving public meetups both here in my local area, and in a couple other cities that I frequently travel to. Tonight, I can’t help but think of the old phrase “There but by the grace of God, go I.”
I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who uses or is planning to use Craigslist or other services like Letgo to BE CAREFUL. Never meet anywhere but a public place to buy or sell mobile electronics. Make the other party get out of their vehicle and meet you inside of a Starbucks, a restaurant, bar, or even a bank. That last one may sound strange, but you know what every bank lobby has? An armed security guard and lots of security cameras.
If your meeting is at one of the above other than a bank, at least get the person you are meeting to sit with you on the patio. Whatever you do, make sure there a lots of other people around. Visible security cameras certainly don’t hurt, either. There are larger items that may require you to meet someone at their house or place of business, but that should never be a concern with a smartphone, tablet, or computer of ANY kind. If someone insists on this for a mobile device sale, there is only one answer- WALK AWAY.
When it comes to setting up a meeting, force the issue on time and pace and don’t back down, no matter what. Never make exceptions or take any unnecessary risks. If a person isn’t willing to work with you on these simple requirements, then they may very well be up to no good. Again, walk away and don’t look back. No potential sale is worth risking your life over.
I do want to point out a couple of things. First of all, I am not at all tying to disparage or blame the unfortunate Mr Somsanith for what happened to him. According to his wife, he was an experienced online deal shopper, and was always careful during in-person meetups. He may have taken some or all of the steps above. In other words, this can happen to anyone.
Along that same line, it is important to remember that even these common sense tips are not enough to absolutely guarantee your safety when meeting someone. However, they do give you the best opportunity to weed out risky individuals who may be looking to take advantage of you. Whatever you do, if you are going to be buying or selling mobile devices via public meetups, please just be as careful as you can out there.
I have no personal connection to this family, but as i said before, my heart goes out to them for such a sudden, tragic, and senseless loss. If you believe in the power of prayer, please take a moment to say one for them. Also, if you feel lead to help them directly, there is a GoFundMe to help the Somsanith family with funeral expenses.