Selling online? Expert recommends safety tips following Seattle robbery

Jul 3, 2024, 1:39 PM | Updated: 1:49 pm

Photo: People have found themselves in dangerous situations after selling items online through Face...

People have found themselves in dangerous situations after selling items online through Facebook Marketplace. (Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

Seattle police officers arrested a 22-year-old man after he bought a car through Facebook Marketplace, returned it to the owners, tried to buy it again and then stole it at gunpoint. This is just the latest example of how dangerous buying or selling items through online marketplaces can be.

People have been robbed, assaulted and even killed. On Wednesday, KIRO Newsradio turned to Consumers’ Checkbook’s Herb Weisbaum to gather some tips to help you stay safe.

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“Anytime you meet a stranger to sell something, especially something as valuable as a car, even if you take all precautions, you’re still putting yourself at risk,” Weisbaum said.

He recommended not meeting at a private residence, but instead meeting in a public place with people around, good lighting and camera surveillance if possible.

“Coffee shops, shopping centers, even the parking lot of the local police station,” Weisbaum said.

Weisbaum went on to say that you should be sure someone knows what you’re doing and to take advantage of technology.

“Tell a friend or family member where and win you plan to meet the buyer and use a live location sharing app, or function on your phone, to share your location with that friend or family member during the scheduled meet-up,” he added.

Local crime: A group of residents tries to crack down on prostitution along Aurora, but is it legal?

Finally, never meet someone alone.

“Bring someone with you when you’re going to meet a seller or potential buyer,” Weisbaum said. “Don’t have large amounts of cash, or anything else valuable on you, that could be stolen like an expensive watch. If you see signs of any suspicious activity, immediately cancel the transaction, call local authorities, if necessary, but trust your gut.”

You can read more of James Lynch’s stories here. Follow James on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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Selling online? Expert recommends safety tips following Seattle robbery