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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: online shopping

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.” Especially during the commerce-heavy holiday season, 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 when making that deal:

  • 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.

Protect your information, protect yourself

  • 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/proxied 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, bring another person with you. If you have to go alone, let other people know where you are going and when.

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


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.” Especially during the commerce-heavy holiday season, 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 when making that deal:

  • 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. 

Protect your information, protect yourself

  • 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/proxied 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, bring another person with you. If you have to go alone, let other people know where you are going and when.

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


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017