If you have ever tried to buy or sell something online, you know how risky it can be, with foreign scammers, local creepers, and all sorts of strangers e-mailing you.
But there may be a safer alternative.
Needed Help Restoring House
Mindy Rich has on old house with a lot of old house needs.
When she needed someone to fix her plaster ceiling, she didn't turn to Google, the Yellow Pages, or Craigslist, but rather something else: Nextdoor.com, what's being called the "safer social network."
Rich said "it's a private network, so it is only a network among your neighbors."
Rich has heard the horror stories about online killers, foreign scammers, and all the other hazards that can come with buying and selling on public internet forums. As a woman, she says, she could not take the risk of posting things for sale online from her home.
"You don't know who is going to come to your door, who is going to be calling or texting," Rich said.
Site Provides a Safer Community
As a result, the California-based Nextdoor network is exploding across the US, with more than 24,000 neighborhoods now having a local Nextdoor site , and more coming online every week.
Dave Meyer -- father of a baby boy -- also does not want to deal with strangers when he and his wife look for daycare or dining room sets.
"You do get a lot of activity you're not interested in, scammers, people outside the country, things like that, when you advertise online" Meyer said.
How it is Different
NextDoor is different because you have to register with your real name and real address, which for the most part keeps the scammers out.
It is also being used as a crime fighting tool in many communities, where neighbors report break-ins and suspicious drivers on their streets.
Some reviewers call it a free alternative to Angie's List, though it does not have Angie's List extensive list of contractors, repair shops, and other services.
Meyer is fine with that. He learns about local events, missing pets, local handymen and plumbers, and stuff his neighbors are trying to unload.
Best of all, he says, is that can read what his real neighbors are saying, so that he is fairly confident he won't be ripped off.
"If you are selling something to your neighbors," Meyer said, "you have the feeling they wouldn't give away a piece of garbage to their neighbors, you'd make sure it was in reasonable condition."
If your community does not yet have Nextdoor, you can start a group on the networks's website.
It's free, and you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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