How to avoid a dangerous online sale meet-up

Posted at 6:33 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 18:33:08-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Online commerce sites like Craigslist and Offer Up are a fantastic resource for those looking to buy or sell items, but they can also pose their own unique dangers.

After a 25-year-old seller was shot in the leg by his would-be-buyers last week during a transaction, FOX 17 reached out to local police to see how you can avoid a similar fate.

“It’s unfortunate that it has happened [and] that it does happen from time to time, but there are measures and safety steps that a person can put into place to help them avoid some of these,” said Sgt. Terry Dixon with the Grand Rapids Police Department.

First and foremost, Dixon says, use your best judgement.

“Every now and then you’ve got to just trust your instincts,” said Dixon. “That hair that goes up on the back of your neck – trust that.”

And, Dixon says, don’t feel like you’re forced to follow through with a meet up.

“So if it doesn’t feel right, just kind of go with that,” said Dixon. “Pull back from the meeting arrangements and make other plans at a later date – something you feel more comfortable about.”

Just like in real estate, an important factor is location, location, location.

“Make it a public place,” said Dixon. “Design it to where you meet at a Walmart of Meijer or some place that has outdoor cameras.”

Don’t be afraid to use the buddy system. It never hurts to have some backup.

As for the three suspects arrested in the incident last week, they were all arraigned Wednesday.