Protecting yourself in online transactions

Posted at 5:45 PM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 22:52:43-04

Like Craigslist, apps like Offerup are supposed to make selling stuff simple.

Make an up...get paid. But it doesn't always happen that way.

In March, a Valley man reported having a shot gun pulled on him after meeting a man that was supposed to be buying a Playstation from him. 

The two had connected on Offerup and according to charging documents, the victim was forced to drive the suspect, Jacob Cooley to a location near 68th Street and Thomas Road.

Days later he was arrested and later indicted on kidnapping and robbery charges.

Scottsdale Police Sergeant Ben Hoster says the victim did a lot to help himself by giving a "very good description of the suspect."

He says that description along with communicating by phone--instead of through the app--was also helpful in finding the suspect.

But he says preventing it in the first place is key.

"Go to a public location like a grocery store even better a bank," Sgt. Hoster said.

In other words, some place where there are people and surveillance cameras.

Also try not to give a lot of personal information.

"Don't put a photo of yourself with your children or your house with the address or anything like so that the public can see it," Hoster suggests.

More advice includes:

-ask the seller or buyer for id before you meet them
-don't meet alone
-use your cell phone to record the transaction

Finally, trust your gut. If if doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.