The disappearance and alleged murder of Tim Bosma has highlighted the alarming phenomenon of predators using online classified ads sites to stalk their victims.

In the case of Bosma — whose charred remains were found by police on Tuesday, eight days after he disappeared from his Hamilton, Ont., home — that classified ad site was reportedly Kijiji, an alternative to Craigslist that’s popular in Canada and a handful of other countries.

Sensing a potential public relations disaster, Kijiji has been releasing statements offering condolences to Bosma’s family and friends. But the website now says it had nothing to do with the man’s disappearance.

We confirmed to the police that the ad posted by Mr. Bosma on Kijiji did not feature personal contact information, nor did it receive any replies, which determines the incident did not occur as result of his ad posting on Kijiji,” the company stated.

If a seller on Kijiji does not display contact info, buyers can reach them via Kijiji itself. The company said no one tried to contact Bosma through its service.

News reports have repeatedly stated that Bosma, 32, vanished from his home while taking two men out for a test drive in the 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck he was trying to sell on Kijiji. But it now looks likely that Bosma advertised the truck elsewhere as well.

Despite its efforts to distance itself from the incident, Kijiji has posted advice to its website on how to stay safe when buying and selling online.

Meet in a public place with many people around, such as a coffee shop,” the company advises, adding that Kijij users should “not give out personal or banking information (e.g. social insurance number, bank account number) over the internet.”

Twenty-seven-year-old Dellen Millard of Toronto has been charged with Bosma’s death, and remains in police custody.

His name is only the latest on a growing list of alleged “Craiglist killers” who have gained notoriety over accusations they used online classified sites to find victims.

A court in Ohio last month sentenced a 53-year-old street preacher to the death penalty after finding him guilty of killing three desperate job-seekers who had answered a Craigslist ad.

The court found Richard Beasley guilty of teaming up with a teenager in 2011 to lure job-seekers onto a farm in southeast Ohio in order to rob them. Three of the robbery victims died, and a fourth testified against Beasley in court.

In one of the most famous cases, med student Philip Markoff was charged in 2009 with the death of Julissa Brisman in a Boston hotel room, on top of charges of armed robbery involving other females.

Markoff was among the first suspects to be dubbed a “Craiglist killer,” because he allegedly used the online service to contact women offering erotic services, whom he would then attack. He took his own life in 2010.

While Kijiji’s advice is to meet buyers and sellers in open, public spaces, others suggest stricter rules for engaging in online buying and selling. Some advise buyers to stay away entirely from services advertised online, such as gardening and erotic services.

It isn’t safe,” Examiner.com exhorts. “There are other ways to find people in your community who can help you.”

Steve Tissenbaum, a retail management prof at Ryerson University, told the Toronto Star you should always take a friend when meeting with someone you met through an online ad.

You don’t go if you don’t have a friend,” he said. “It’s as simple as that."

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Mark Smich

  • Mark Smich

  • Dellen Millard

  • Dellen Millard

  • Dellen Millard

  • Dellen Millard

  • Tim Bosma

  • Tim Bosma

  • Tim Bosma

  • Tim Bosma

  • Tim Bosma

  • Tim Bosma

  • Sharlene Bosma, Wife Of Murder Victim Tim Bosma, Speaking At News Conference

    Sharlene Bosma speaking to the media on May 15, 2013, about her murdered husband, Tim Bosma.

  • Millard Court Appearance

    A prisoner van carrying accused Dellen Millard enters the courthouse on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in Hamilton, Ont. Millard has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a southern Ontario father who disappeared after posting his truck for sale online and taking a test drive with two men.

  • Flowers At Bosma's Home

    A woman places flowers in front of Tim Bosma's home in Ancaster, Ont., Wednesday, May 15 2013. Dellen Millard has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Bosma, a southern Ontario father who disappeared after posting his truck for sale online and taking a test drive with two men.

  • Police Investigating Murder Of Tim Bosma

    Police investigate the death of Tim Bosma at 2548 Roseville Rd. in North Dumfries Township. Bosma, who disappeared after leaving his home with men who came to test drive his truck, has been found dead.

  • Dellen Millard's Lawyer Speaks

    Deepak Paradkar, the lawyer for Dellen Millard, speaks to the media after his client's first court appearance in Hamilton, Ont., Wednesday, May 15 2013. Millard has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a southern Ontario father who disappeared after posting his truck for sale online and taking a test drive with two men.

  • Police Investigating Murder Of Tim Bosma

    Police investigate the death of Tim Bosma at 2548 Roseville Rd. in North Dumfries Township. Bosma, who disappeared after leaving his home with men who came to test drive his truck, has been found dead.

  • Police Investigating Murder Of Tim Bosma

    Police investigate the death of Tim Bosma at 2548 Roseville Rd. in North Dumfries Township. Bosma, who disappeared after leaving his home with men who came to test drive his truck, has been found dead.

  • Police Investigating Murder Of Tim Bosma

    Police investigate the death of Tim Bosma at 2548 Roseville Rd. in North Dumfries Township. Bosma, who disappeared after leaving his home with men who came to test drive his truck, has been found dead.

  • Police Investigating Murder Of Tim Bosma

    Police investigate the death of Tim Bosma at 2548 Roseville Rd. in North Dumfries Township. Bosma, who disappeared after leaving his home with men who came to test drive his truck, has been found dead.

  • Police Investigating Murder Of Tim Bosma

    Police investigate the death of Tim Bosma at 2548 Roseville Rd. in North Dumfries Township. Bosma, who disappeared after leaving his home with men who came to test drive his truck, has been found dead.

  • Police Investigating Murder Of Tim Bosma

    Police investigate the death of Tim Bosma at 2548 Roseville Rd. in North Dumfries Township. Bosma, who disappeared after leaving his home with men who came to test drive his truck, has been found dead.

  • Det.Sgt Matt Matt Kavanagh, centre, discusses the Timothy Bosma missing man case at a news conference in Hamilton, Ont., Tuesday, May 14, 2013. A massive search for Bosma, a southern Ontario man who vanished more than a week ago, came to a grim conclusion when police announced his body had been found.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper

  • Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

  • Skylar Hellman †

    So sad to hear that Tim Bosma was found dead this morning ... my deepest sympathy to his family. Just terrible ... all because of a truck

  • Kathleen Leach

    RT @LocateTimBosma: This is a tragedy. Rest In Peace, Tim Bosma.

  • Liam Casey

  • Jen Warman

    God I just feel sick about what has happened to Tim Bosma and his family. It's just so sad and horrendous....

  • olivia.

    Rest in peace Tim Bosma :(..

  • Jennifer Dale

    R.I.P. Tim Bosma

  • Trevor Dunn

    Now a homicide investigation, Hamilton Police still working on the Tim Bosma case at this farm near Cambridge #sl http://t.co/Drne6RdjqJ

  • Jessica Smith

    My heart goes out to the family & friends of Tim Bosma. May he rest in peace. I hope all those involved pay for their actions.

  • Amanda MacKenzie

    Heartbreaking. Sympathy to the Bosmas. “@globeandmail: #Breaking: Missing Ontario man Tim Bosma found dead http://t.co/1tZ5jHOncr”

  • Theresa Farrugia

    @HamiltonPolice @HPSActionTeam4 Thank you for your swift and professional work on the Tim Bosma case. This is a tragedy which sickens me.

  • Chels

    R.i.p Tim bosma 🙏😥

  • Ryan Mandryk

    R.I.P Tim Bosma, some people are messed up

  • Paul Johnson

    Thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Tim Bosma.

  • John Morris

    This is unbelievably shitty. Perspective, people.“@globeandmail: #Breaking: Missing Ontario man Tim Bosma found dead http://t.co/3O6jR0zayP”

  • Marc Guilbeault

    Disgusting.... RIP Tim Bosma

  • ⚫™

    RT @CP24: Hamilton police say human remains have been located. "We are convinced that these are remains of Tim Bosma," chief says.

  • Amanda Blake

  • righteous wun☁

    My heart goes out to the family of Tim Bosma. #saddening

  • Sarah N

    My heart is so heavy for the family and all that knew Tim Bosma. Everyone was hoping/praying he would be found alive! #RIPTimBosma

  • Ancaster Dundas News

    We will continue to follow every single lead. We will work to affect the arrest of those responsible for the death of Tim Bosma: Chief.

  • audi

    RIP Tim Bosma. Thoughts & prayers for his family.