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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: baltimore county police

By Louise Rogers, Baltimore County Police Department

Thousands of goods are bought and sold without incident each year on Craigslist, neighborhood online yard sales and other online commerce sites. Still, not all people using these resources are on the “up and up.” The Baltimore County Police Department reminds citizens to exercise caution when meeting someone to complete an online transaction.

Police agencies across Maryland and the country have documented theft, robbery and, in a rare case, murder, involving meetings to complete online transactions. The suspects place bogus ads in an attempt to catch unsuspecting victims.

Tips for a Safe Transaction

Baltimore County Police Department provides the following tips to help you stay safe:

  • Do not assume the person you’re meeting is a friend. He or she may seem harmless, but you do not know this person. Don’t let your guard down when exchanging goods and money.
  • Never meet anyone at your home or workplace. You don’t know this person.
  • Insist on meeting at a well-lit, busy place. BCoPD suggests that buyers and sellers meet on the parking lot of one of our police stations. Walk inside the station before the meeting and tell the officer on duty about the planned transaction. 

Our police stations and officers are there to protect people who want to make exchanges of all types. It can be a Craigslist exchange or separated parents seeking a safe place to pick up and drop off children.

Before you meet

  • Gather as much information as possible about the buyer/seller including, but not limited to, telephone numbers, identifying numbers or avatars provided by the service. 
  • Use cash or a secured/proxy form of payment such as PayPal. We discourage use of credit or debit cards because both expose you to identity theft. Avoid displaying large amounts of cash; this attracts predators to the transaction.
  • Keep your personal details to yourself. Don’t give your address, date of birth or the names of family members to the other person in the transaction.
  • Bring a cellphone and, if possible, another person with you. If you have to go alone, let other people know where you are going and what time you will be there. 

Finally, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, cancel the deal. 


 
 
Revised September 26, 2016