Unfortunately, meeting up with an online buyer that you "met" through Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or some other "For Sale" group can be a dangerous exchange.

One man in Halfmoon found that out when he tried to sell a laptop online. Loren M. Hull, 21, of Halfmoon agreed to meet up with a man selling a laptop, but when they met up for the exchange Hull pulled out what appeared to be a gun and stole the laptop, and ran. He was arrested a short time later and luckily the gun turned out to be a BB gun according to The Daily Gazette.

This type of crime happens a lot. A friend of mine met an online buyer in an apartment complex parking lot to sell a cellphone. When the buyer showed up he asked if they could sit in my friend's car while he checks out the cellphone since it was cold out. My friend agreed, but when they got in the car the buyer pulled out a gun, demanded the phone, my friend's keys, wallet, and then stole his car. That thief was arrested the next day.

It almost happened to me but didn't because of something my friend who was robbed mentioned to me. He said, "We should have met at a police station parking lot to make the purchase."  I was going to buy a used cell phone from a local online buyer, but when I mentioned that I wanted to meet at a police station parking lot the guy and the online ad disappeared. Might be a coincidence....might be that I was going to be robbed?

So, whenever I'm purchasing or selling something online I always tell the other person that I'd like to meet at the New York State Police post close to my house to make the exchange. If they are cool with it, I know it's probably going to be a safe, legitimate sale.

The Albany Police Department even posted on Facebook about using their police station lobby as a safe meet-up place during the holidays.


Reminder: When buying or selling online, always conduct face-to-face transactions in a safe location.

Please feel free to use one of Albany Police Department stations.

Posted by Albany Police Department on Thursday, December 8, 2016

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