How Scary is Craigslist? 5 Stories Confirming Your Fears

As we all know, Craigslist is a wonderful tool for everything from buying and selling goods to job offers to offline meetups and has exploded in popularity since its expansion beyond San Francisco in 2000.  Yet with this popularity also comes all of the horror stories of theft, kidnapping, and even murder that are associated with Craigslist encounters.  Below are five news stories from the past months that have happened in the United States which we hope remind you to stay safe online.

Teen Being Charged With Kidnapping and Rape Charges Linked With Craigslist Ad

In late April of this year, a teen from Fayetteville, NC allegedly kidnapped, robbed, and raped a woman whom he met through an ad posted on Craigslist.  According to the boy’s family, he had answered a prostitute’s ad on Craigslist which led to the incident.  He allegedly hit her with a handgun, stole her phone, and dragged her into the nearby woods where he sexually assaulted her which left her with “contusions to the head and scratches on her arms and legs.” Local news sources say that the boy is now facing up to 36 years from both felony robbery and kidnapping charges.

Child Predator from Craigslist gets 6 Years

A man from Lakewood, CO was just sentenced to 6 years in jail for soliciting a minor through a Craigslist ad.  Local police had conducted a sting with a post reading “Working mom needs a strong male babysitter for my beautiful 12-year-old daughter” to which the man, Ryan MacLeod responded that he was “VERY much interested.”  He also had what a sexually explicit phone call with what he thought was the child but was actually a female police officer.  He was arrested on June 11, 2013 and was just convicted recently.

Couple Shot, Robbed In Front of Son While Buying His First Car on Craigslist

This tragic story happened in Kansas City, MO where a couple was buying a car for their 16-year-old son from Craigslist.  After they finished test driving the car, the seller said he had to take a phone call and walked away.  Soon after two men came up to the family with handguns shouting “Give me the money!” and when they said they had no money the suspects then said “I know you have the money, now, give me the money”.  The husband was shot four times in the chest, stomach, and legs while the wife was shot once in the arm after which the suspects proceeded to steal the wife’s purse which had $3000 in it and took off in the car.

24 Year Old Man Killed and Dismembered Five Dogs He Bought Through Craigslist

On July 9th of this year, a man by the name of Jason Brown from Nevada was arrested for butchering five dogs in a Reno motel room.  A maid at the hotel came into the room and encountered a grizzly scene of bloodstains, dog limbs, methamphetamine, and other horrid things and immediately called for help.  Brown now faces five counts of willful torture of an animal which is considered a felony charge in Nevada after a new law which was passed in 2011.  Along with these five charges he is also being charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Craigslist Post Leads to Two Murders and the Suspect’s Suicide

A Craigslist post from a couple about a payment for sex trade lead to the murder of the couple and the suicide of the suspect in this horrible story.  The investigation began when the body of the boyfriend was found decapitated in a park in Michigan which eventually lead police to a suspect’s home where a chase began when the suspect saw the cops outside.  The chase ended with the suspect’s car crashing into a wall and when police approached the car, it appeared as though the suspect shot himself in the head.  In the trunk of the car was the body of the first man’s girlfriend, an 18-year-old girl who was eight months pregnant.  Investigators also found over 40 firearms in the suspect’s home as well as property belonging to the victims.

 

With all of awful stories, we would once again like to remind everyone to be safe when using Craigslist or any other similar service.  While these stories are obviously in the extreme minority, always practice caution when meeting people you have met online.  Do you have any bad experiences or advice for those unsure about using Craigslist?  Tweet us @MyREPP with anything that you have to say.  As always, stay safe and stay smart.

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Scared $h!+le$$ of Craigslist? So were we.

Blog Image - How to Use REPP for Craigslist.001

The thought of dealing with a total stranger on Craigslist has most people’s hair on the back of their neck standing straight up.

So, for all of us out there that want to tap into the greatness of buying and selling goods on Craigslist, we’ve built some tools to help you de-scarify it (that’s a word, right?).

SAFER EMAILING

The first thing that creeps me and many people out about dealing with a total stranger on Craigslist is that I have to email them (at least that’s how I choose to communicate).  Most people combat this by making a fake email address, but that can be time consuming and it kind of sucks having to manage another email account, as we all probably have 2-3 other accounts already.  So, The REPP Team decided to give everyone an email alias when they create their REPP account.  This is essentially an email that you can send and receive messages from in your REPP account, but you’ll be notified in your regular email about your messages. Here’s how it works:

Step-by-step

1. Log into your REPP Account and click on Messages

Messages - Email Alias - Craigslist

2. Click on Compose

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3. Paste the Craigslist listing “Reply by Email” in the “To” Field 3

4. In the “From” Field, you can select the email address without the user or click “Hide My Name

5. Enter a Subject Subject - REPP Email Alias

6. Fill out a message to them Body - REPP Email Alias

7. Click Send Message

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8. They’ll get an email that looks like the below. Note that the email is from a repp.me address.

9. They can reply to your email and the message will come to your REPP Messages and we’ll notify you via email that you’ve received a message.

FINDING OUT MORE ABOUT THEM

Now that we got the communicating with a stranger covered, the other scary thing about Craigslist is when you have to meet that stranger.  Whether you have to go to their house, have them come to your house, or meet in some abandoned parking lot, it can definitely be a little scary meeting them.

At that point you have no idea if they are who they say they are or if they’re the person you’d actually made arrangements to meet. To help you out with that scary situation about trying to find out more about the other party, you can use the request feature in your profile. Since you’ll be using REPP, we can act as the person asking that semi-awkward question  of “let me see your info” – just tell ‘em “We’ve been using this new system, REPP . . . ”

Step-by-step 

1. Log into REPP (if you’re not already logged in)

2. Click on Messages

Messages - Email Alias - Craigslist

3. Click on Compose

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4. Fill out the “To,” “Subject,” and “Message” and choose if you want to use your REPP Email Alias. REPP For Craigslist

5. Click on the “Request  Their Profile” REPP Profile Request - Craigslist

6.  Select what you want to see from the other party.  REPP Profile Request - Craigslist

7. They’ll get an email that looks like this, which they can click on and fulfill and share back with you.

8. Sit back and relax and wait for them to share their info with you.

Bonus If you want, you can also share your profile with them, as it will let them feel more comfortable with you and give them a reason to share their info with you. While composing your message, just select “Share Profile” – you can select what you want to share and how long you want them to have access to it. Share Profile - REPP - Craigslist

Hopefully REPP can make your Craigslist transactions a bit less scary. Definitely let us know how it’s working for you and if there’s anything else you want us to add functionality wise.

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23 Million Twitter Accounts . . .

Just ran across this post from Engadget that

“Twitter’s now disclosed some specific numbers, noting that bot accounts total up to 8.5 percent of its active user count at the end of June. That’s roughly 23 million tweeters that aren’t human . . .”

It will be interesting to see how this grows/changes over the next year. Do you think people will start going to other platforms as they get sick of spam messages? How many spam tweets fill your account?

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Thinking of buying a pre-owned car? Well, we’ve got a cheat sheet for you.

Thinking about that next car? Maybe a pre-owned one?  Well, we’ve put together a guide with some help from an industry expert.  Check it out, it’s totally free.

Get Your Pre-Owned Car Buying Cheat Sheet

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Fake Passengers – The Battle Between Uber and Lyft and Our Solution


Uber Lyft Post.001

So, have you seen the news about the thousands of fake bookings on Uber and Lyft – approximately 18,000 it seems?  It’s crazy.  And while it may be a bit overblown, with several people responsible for the majority of these canceled rides, it got our wheels (pun intended) turning about how an Uber and/or Lyft driver could confirm who they’re picking up with REPP.

Here are our thoughts:

1) Uber or Lyft Drivers get a booking

2) They request the clients REPP Profile (by default they’ll get their verified ID information – so they can know that a) the person is real and b) their real name and info)

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 10.59.44 AM

 

3) The booking party can fulfill the request on their phone and shoot it back to the driver.

4) Voila, Uber and Lyft drivers now know who they’re booked with.

Just some quick musings- definitely let us know your feedback.

BTW – make sure that you follow our Terms when using REPP, including not using it for FCRA purposes.

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Our Newest Feature – REPP Email Alias (Email Smarter and Safer)

Do you love using the internet to make your life easier? 

Whether you buy or sell your stuff online, use peer-to-peer platforms, or meet new people online, you sometimes don’t want them having your real email until you feel more comfortable.  When those times come, you can use REPP’s Email Alias feature.

So What Is It?
It’s a quick way for you to communicate with a total stranger without them having your real email.

As a REPP User, we give you a unique, alias email.  So, for example if the email you created your REPP account with was John.Smith@Test.com, REPP auto-generates a unique email for you, which might look like 12345@repp.me.  You can then email anyone via your REPP Message window and the email will come from 12345@repp.me .  The recipient can respond to you and you’ll get notified in REPP and can go back and forth without ever revealing your real email.

How Can I Send A Message Using My REPP Alias Email?

 

Step by Step Guide

1) Click on your Messages Icon
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2) Click on “Compose”

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3)  Add the email address of who you want to email in the “To” Field

4) In the “From” field, you can choose what format you want your email to come from: a) the first one is your name with your email alias, b) the second one is “REPP User” with your email alias” and c) the third one is your real name with your real email.

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5) You can then include your “Subject” and a “Message”

6) OPTIONAL -  You can include your REPP Profile, if you want them to know more about you
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7) OPTIONAL - You can request their REPP Profile if you want to know more about them.

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8) Click “Send Message” and they’ll get an email in their inbox.  Here’s a sample of what a message would look like in their inbox.

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9) They can reply to this email and you’ll get it in your REPP inbox and notified via email that they’ve responded.

How Do I Find My REPP Alias Email Address?
In your REPP account,
1) Click on the Gear Icon

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2)  Navigate to the “My Information” Tab

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3) Scroll down and you’ll see your “Email Alias”
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What Can I Do With My Email Alias?
You can give it away to anybody that you don’t want to have your real email address, but you still want to communicate with them.  So for instance, if you meet somebody out at a bar and you want them to be able to communicate with you, but you’re not sure if you want to hand over your real email, then give ‘em your REPP Email Alias

How Do I Know When I Get A Message at my REPP Alias Email?
When someone sends a message to your REPP Alias Email address, either directly or in response to one of your messages, their message will come to your Messages Inbox AND we’ll notify you at the email address that has been verified for your REPP Account.

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10 Google Tools To Help Your Parents Finally Master the Internet

Young man teaching an elderly man computer skills

Starting to use the internet as a new user can be quite a daunting task which often leads to turning to others for help constantly.  Whether you are the one in need of help or you are tired of constantly being the go-to person for your parents or someone else’s online needs, this list will help get anyone started on the path to internet competence.  This quick list provides ten easy tools for new internet users to get started and become comfortable with being online and browsing the web.  While simple, these stepping stones for a new user will start a new user on the path to internet literacy through some very easy tools that Google provides to everyone.  So if you are an experienced user and know someone in need of some help, this article will attempt to help them along.

Install Google Chrome

If you have not made many changes to your computer, you likely do not have Google Chrome installed.  Chrome is a web browser which allows you to use the internet and is similar to Internet Explorer but is much easier to use.  To install Chrome, open your web browser and in the search bar type in “Google Chrome download” or follow this link.  Once you follow the instructions on screen, you will have a new icon on your desktop for you to access Chrome whenever you like.  For more help information on Chrome, head to Google’s FAQ page.

1. Create a Google Account

Now that you have successfully installed Google Chrome, you can use that as your new way to surf the web.  If you do not already have a Google account, you can get started very easily.  Open up Chrome and follow this link to Google’s create an account page.  Here you will put in your name and can create an email account.  If you already have an existing email that you would prefer to use, you can click the small blue text underneath it which says “I prefer to use my current email address.”  Once you finish filling out this page all you have to do is go to your email and open up your confirmation message and you are finished!

2. Google Calendar

With your Google account created, you can now start using all of the great tools that Google has to offer.  One such tool is Google Calendar.  This tool allows you to create your own online calendar and share it with friends and family so you can stay connected.  If you have a smartphone, you can easily sync your calendar onto it so you can take it and update it wherever you go.  When you go to the Google homepage, you will see a set of 9 small squares in the top right corner.  This button allows you to access many of the great tools that Google has to offer.  If you click it a number of Google tools will appear.

Google Apps button

The circled icon is your go to button for many Google applications

For now, we will simply start with Google Calendar.  Start by clicking the Calendar button or following this link and you will be taken to the Calendar page.  Since this will be your first time using Google Calendar, you will have a welcome box come up to tell you all about what it can do.  Here you can begin to set up your calendar and it can even remind you about upcoming events that you have.  All you have to do to use Calendar is to left click and drag your mouse down whatever time slot you want to create an event.  You can also email calendar events by clicking the share button in the top right of the page.  As mentioned above, this can be great for everything from syncing up your calendar with a relative’s to keep track of what is going on with your family to setting up lunch or coffee dates with a friend or colleague.  It is even possible to invite people to events as well as get email reminders when something is coming up.  For more help Google has a help center that can answer more questions.

Google Calendar Screenshot

Example of a partially filled calendar

3. Google Maps

Another tool that Google provides any user is its Google Maps function.  To access Google Maps, click on the icon with 9 squares as before and click the Maps icon or by following this link.  When you open up the Google Maps page, you will be greeted with a giant map as well as a search bar in the top left of the screen.  You can search any address you desire and it will zoom in the map to wherever the address is.  If you want directions once you type in your destination, all you have to do is click directions button that appears once you search for your location.  Once you set your starting location, you will be given at least one way, if not more, to get to your destination.  If you want to see the turn by turn directions listed, all you have to do is click “List all steps” and click on any of the directions for it to zoom into the map where it is relevant.  If you have any difficulty with Google Maps and need more help, Google has their own help center for this to answer your questions.

4. Zooming in and Shortcuts

Sometimes reading things on the internet for extended periods of time can be tiring on the eyes or perhaps you need the text on a website to be bigger and easier to read.  Well have no fear as Chrome has you covered.  An easy way to make a page bigger without worrying about using the mouse is by pressing the “Ctrl” button and the “+” button on your keyboard at the same time.  If you zoom in too far, you can zoom out by pressing the “Ctrl” button and the “-” button at any time.  You can even press the “Ctrl” button on your keyboard and use the wheel on your mouse to make the screen bigger by rolling the wheel forward or backward depending on if you want it bigger or smaller.  A way to do this without the keyboard is also quite simple.  All you have to do is click the three lines that are at the top right of your Chrome browser and press the plus or minus sign next to where it says zoom.  A full list of all the shortcuts that you can use are available here for Windows computers and here for Macs.

Google Settings bar

The red square indicates the symbol to click on in the top-right of your browser

5. Google News

Now most likely you have your favorite news source to keep up to date on what is going on in the world, but Google offers their own news outlet for you to browse recent news stories gathered from a number of different websites.  They don’t write any of the articles themselves but rather collect them for you to easily view.  It allows you to personalize the news stories that you would like to receive and offers a slider bar to show how much of one type of news over another you would like to see.  To access Google News, all you have to do is click on click the News icon similar to Maps and Calendar or by heading directly to the site here.  If you want to customize what type of news you see, click the gear in the top right of the news page and adjust the slider bars to your tastes.  You can even customize what news sources you are more likely to hear from so you can choose from just one or two sources or as many as you are interested in.  If you need any more help setting up your Google News feed, Google’s News Help Center will provide answers to your questions.

6. Google Shopping

As more and more people are online, so too are these people using online stores like Amazon to buy things they would have otherwise in stores.  However, with numerous different online stores on the web, finding the best deal or website may seem difficult.  Google has tried to come up with a solution for this in the form of Google Shopping.  To access Google Shopping, go back to the tool page where you found Maps, News, and Calendar and click on the “More” option to see the Shopping icon or by heading directly to their shopping page here.  This will take you to Google’s search engine for finding consumer products online.  Search whatever it is you want to find and Google will list numerous different websites offering that item and their prices.  This could also introduce you to other websites and better deals than you would have otherwise missed.

7. Google Books

Even with how great everything on the internet is and the products Google has to offer, it still feels good to curl up with a good book at the end of the day.  Google wants to help you with this through their Google Books search section.  To access this way to search for books, you can either simply head to their Google Books site to start adding books to a virtual bookshelf or search for something like normal through Google then click “Books” above your search results to find results for books by that name.  You can tag books that you are currently reading, add books to a wish list, review books, or search for books to buy from various online stores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Eventually you can even have books suggested to you based on your reading habits and search history.

8. Chrome Remote Desktop

Now that some of the more basic tools are out of the way, it is time for something a little different.  While Google has all of these wonderful products for use, other people can release add-ons to Chrome called “extensions” and “apps” which allow you to do special things that you normally could not such as add more functions to a page or even make things easier to read.  You can browse the entire list of these extensions and add-ons here to find some for yourself to use.  Google has their own extension for Chrome called “Chrome Remote Desktop” which allows other computers to access your computer if you let them.  To put it simply, if you ever need computer help from your go to family member or friend but they are not physically around to help you, this handy add-on allows you to have them help you and use your computer over the internet.  To get Chrome Remote Desktop, follow this link and click the “+ Free” button in the top right of the window.  When a window pops up asking to add it, click add and you are all set!  To access this new tool whenever you want click the “Apps” button on the bar below the search bar and click the “Chrome Remote Desktop” button.

 Chrome Remote Desktop Screenshot

You will see a similar page when adding any extension or app

Since it is your first time using the application, you must authorize it to access your computer.  Press “Continue” on the window that pops up asking you to authorize and click on your Google account name and then click “Accept”.  Now that you have allowed Chrome Remote Desktop to access your computer, click on “Get Started” next to where it says “Remote Assistance” and then click the green “Share” button.  You will see a window pop up asking you to finish the installer before continuing which means that you have to install the program that allows this to work.  A small file will start downloading and when you see it done the bar on the bottom of your screen, click it and then hit run.  Once the window says that it is configuring Chrome Remote Desktop disappears, you are good to go and use this wonderful new program.

Whenever you want to use it, make sure that both you and the person who is helping you have Chrome Remote Desktop and whoever is in need of help clicks the green “Share” button.  An access code will be given to the one who presses the button which the helper needs to be given.  Once that is done then the helper will be able to access the shared screen and can solve whatever problem is from there.

9. Readability Extension

While this specific tool is not something made by Google, this app can come in handy if you want to read an article without any of the clutter that many websites have.  Readability allows you to simply read an article in a more comfortable way as well as save articles for later or even send them to your Kindle if you have one to read wherever you want.  To start using this tool, follow this link to their homepage to create your account.  Once you sign up, you can find the readability extension here and install it the same way as Chrome Remote Desktop by clicking the “+ Free” button.  Once you are done doing this, you can start using Readability right away by clicking on the new chair icon that has appeared on your top bar to read any article in a more comfortable way.

Readability Comparison

A CNN article next to the same article viewed with Readability for easier reading

10. Google Hangouts

Another great service that Google has to offer is something called “Google Hangouts”.  Hangouts allows you to connect with your Google contacts and talk to them over text or even video whenever you want.  If you have a smartphone or tablet you can also take advantage of this service to stay connected to those important to you.  To get started, simply follow this link for all of the information on all the different devices and ways you can use this tool.  You can even use this tool through your Gmail account by clicking on the small black icon (seen in a picture below) on the bottom left of your contact list.

 Hangouts icon

Google Hangout icon at the bottom of your Gmail page

This is something that is fantastic to take advantage of as it provides an alternative to simply calling family and friends assuming that you have your own webcam hooked up to your computer. To find webcams to take advantage of this service, you can simply use your Google Shopping page or any other online store such as Amazon to find more details.

Google Hangout

Example of a Google Hangout call

For help about any of these products listed or anything else Google related, follow this link to Google’s support center which will direct you to further explanations.  Did we miss anything in our list of tools to get people started using the computers and the internet?  Tweet us @MyREPP for anything you have found useful as well.

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You Won’t Believe What Was Inside

We thought it would be interesting (and entertaining) to see if hungry college students would eat a donut that was filled with a mystery food.  You’ve got to watch to see what happened.

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Hookers, Orgies, and Your Place . . . Oh My

Find out who your guest is

Want to make a couple extra bucks by doing something easy?

Hundreds of thousands have taken up that offer over the past year using Airbnb, hosting others at their place.  A few of those people have mistakenly allowed others to make a few easy bucks in another profession  . . .  prostitution.

The New York Post recently reported that “One escort service is even saving a bundle by renting Airbnb apartments instead of hotel rooms for clients’ quickies, says a 21-year-old call girl who works for the illicit business.”  Recently, Jessica Penzari, a New York publicist found a rude awakening.  “When she returned, Penzari was shocked to find telltale remnants including baby wipes and “at least 10 condoms.”

Not only are people renting places on Airbnb for prostitution, but they’re also hosting orgies at rented pads.

Just last month comedian Ari Teman walked in on an eye-opening scene. “Teman, 31, used the popular renting website Airbnb to lease his apartment for a couple of days to a man who claimed to be using the pad to host some wedding guests. But he got the shock of his life Friday night when he returned home to pick up some luggage in time to find building management shutting down a rowdy sex party featuring “Big Beautiful Women.”

While we hate the thought of people’s places being used for these illicit acts, and we know that Airbnb are working diligently to please the owners, we wanted to share some quick ways for Airbnb hosts/guest to have more transparency and confidence about one another by using REPP. 

Check them out and let us know your thoughts and stories.

REPP for Airbnb - See How

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Kenny’s Beautiful Mane

Here at REPP we like to keep our blog readers up to date with our product, services, and our team. With that said, we thought everyone would like to take one last look at Kenny’s beautiful mane before he cut it off.

Kenny- pre haircut from REPP on Vimeo.

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