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Prince George’s Co. police urge online buyers, sellers to beware when meeting in person

In this Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo, a person searches the internet for sales, in Miami. With the holidays fast approaching, more people are using their smartphones and other devices to get a handle on their last-minute shopping. Hackers are on the hunt too, looking to steal personal information from easy targets. But experts say a few precautions can go a long way in protecting yourself from cyber Scrooges. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

WASHINGTON — Prince George’s County police said that robbers have been targeting victims recently using classified ad apps and online vendor sites, and they want you to be careful as the holiday season ramps up.

Police said the cases have a similarity: Victims agreed to meet the suspect or suspects in order to buy or sell an item listed on the app. When they met in person, the suspects robbed the victims.

Classified ad apps, such as Letgo, eBay, Varage Sale and Facebook Marketplace, sell products or services to targeted users.

Police recommend some tips to help prevent these robberies, which increase especially during the holidays.

  • Tell friends or family about your plans.
  • Never go alone to meet the seller or buyer. Try to bring a second person with you.
  • Talk to the seller or buyer on the phone, not just through the app or online.
  • Meet in a public place, such as a shopping center.
  • Trust your instincts. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Unless the item is too big to bring out of your home, never invite a buyer or seller to your home.


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