Robberies cause concern about meeting strangers to buy, sell

online safety tips
Safe Place
Posted at 9:35 PM, Feb 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-03 10:31:33-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Police are warning people about shopping online after linking  a string of recent burglaries to the app "Letgo."

Thanks to apps like Letgo, websites like Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace, all it takes is a few clicks to find something you want from someone close by. You can get some great deals shopping this way, but there are a few things to watch out for.

Tallahassee police say three people called them this week after they met up to sell something they posted on Letgo and were robbed at gunpoint. Police arrested 19-year-old Dezmond Barkley and a 17-year-old in connection with the robberies.

"A lot of people unfortunately take advantage of people who are trying to buy or sell items on Let Go, Craigslist, etc.," said Officer Damon Miller of the Tallahassee Police Department.

Officer Miller says before you buy, do your research and always exchange items in a public place.

"Preferably somewhere that has cameras, like a shopping center or a strip mall," said Ofc. Miller. "Try to do it somewhere close where everyone is seeing you, of course during daylight hours."

You also shouldn't invite strangers to your home, but what if you’re trying to get rid of a big item you don’t want to load up and bring somewhere to sell?  Just make sure you're not alone.

"It’s always good to have someone with you, just in case something happens. Just to have someone to watch your back," said Ofc. Miller.

And who better to watch your back than the local police? Many departments will let you do an exchange in the lobby or parking lot. If the other person hesitates to meet you there, that's a red flag.

We asked people in our area for their best safety tips: