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Finding Quality Items for Free

Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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0 Comments
Free stuff yard sign

Why give stuff away?

People often ask, why would someone give away items in exchange for nothing? There are numerous reasons why. People who offer items for free may no longer want or need those things. Rather than sell them, they may simply choose to give them away. Not only is it an easy way to get unwanted items out of the house, but it’s also a form of giving back to the community. Giving away items for free is a feel-good deed that makes other people happy.

Who benefits?

People who are on tight budgets or are experiencing financial hardships can benefit from access to quality items that are offered for free. People who give things away for free and those in search of free items can join local group networks to access free offers. In these social groups, members can post free items they want to give away.

How do you find free stuff?

Check online mobile marketplaces and neighborhood groups where people give things away for free. For instance, Freecycle has groups where people can post items they no longer want or use. The goal of this non-profit organization is to keep usable items out of landfills. The neighborhood app Nextdoor provides options to post items that folks wish to sell or give away. Facebook Marketplace also offers exchange options where people can browse or “sell” items for free. Craigslist is yet another example of a place to find free items. There are also many local groups. However, note that some of these networks have mixed reputations and poor oversight of transactions – so it’s vital to proceed with caution.

Beware!

When dealing with marketplace exchanges, even for low-cost or free items, it’s important to maintain awareness of strangers and scammers. Buyers should:

  • Remain educated and up to date on scams. Also read safety tips provided by the network you are using.
  • Beware of false advertising such as items misleadingly marked free. These are likely part of bait and switch scams.
  • Avoid things that seem too good to be true. If you recognize red flags, do not proceed. Also avoid transactions involving the purchase of gift cards or use of codes. These are scams.
  • Do NOT divulge personal information such as your bank account or social security number as examples. Scammers will try to trick you into giving them this type of information.
  • Never transfer money directly to a seller’s account. Facebook recommends using secure person-to-person payments such as PayPal instead.
  • Stick to local transactions and rely on contactless pickup if this is an option.
  • If you must do business in person, do not go alone. Go with someone and arrange your meeting at a police station offering parking spots specifically designated for internet transactions.
  • If you are uncomfortable with getting things free from strangers, join a swap group with membership credentials or accountability instead.
  • If you are truly in need, contact a local charity or local government or religious organization for help.
  • If you are a victim – promptly report scams to your local police, the FTC, or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

A recap

Getting stuff for free or at low cost is wonderful for the budget, however, there can be pitfalls. Furniture, for example, should be carefully checked for bedbugs or other condition issues. There are many ways to find quality items for free, but one must proceed with caution to avoid falling victim to a scam.

If you’re nervous…

Shopping secondhand stores  with solid reputations can provide safer alternatives to interacting with strangers online.

Disclosure: This article is purely informational and is not intended to support or promote the websites listed above. Nor is it intended as a substitute for professional advice.

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