Keeping yourself safe during online shopping

Author: Haley Zarcone Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:
Holiday deals crooks

Facebook Marketplace is sort of like an online garage sale where you can buy and sell new and used items.

While it’s easy to use, it is not always the safest.

Collier County deputies arrested a 16-year-old boy who they said carried out three robberies over the summer using Facebook Marketplace.

There are a few different ways people can stay safe while looking for a deal.

One of them is to meet in a well-lit area and don’t go to buy or sell items alone.

Rich Kolko, a safety and security expert, said online shopping is about more than just making sure your getting your bang for your buck.

“Make sure you look at the profile, the seller or the buyer. Make sure it’s not just a profile that they’ve put up on social media recently. They should have posts. If it’s somebody that’s been selling items online before, it’s easy to make sure that there haven’t been any complaints about them,” Kolko said.

Armed and ready, CCSO said the boy in one of the robberies flashed a gun at the seller, making them fear for their life.

One of those items stolen was a pair of Beats. Now, while it might seem like you’re getting a deal buying them online, in this case it would’ve been safer just to go in store.

That idea of safety is what keeps shopper like David Rimkos off of listing sites and shopping in person

Aside from getting to peruse through the isles, he said he feels more secure shopping in store.

“It’s kind of scary because you never know who’s going to be at the end of that. It’s like Craigslist but worse,” Rimkos said.

When it comes to shopping on Facebook Marketplace, Kolko has a checklist of tips for you.

“But always bring somebody with you. Go to a well lighted area. This thing is at the police or law enforcement station. They usually have a safe trading area right there in their parking lot. And when you’re trying to buy or sell something, take those common sense safety tips, and you could protect yourself and protect your money,” Kolko said.

At the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, they have surveillance cameras and plenty of street lights.

Making sure you do your homework on your buyer or seller is key, because keeping yourself safe is top priority, no matter the deal at hand.

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