Online marketplace apps increasingly used in robberies
2020-06-05 09:12 PDT
Online marketplace apps are a convenient way for people to buy and sell merchandise. Unfortunately, they are also a convenient way for criminals to commit personal robberies. This year Surrey RCMP has already received 13 reports of robberies related to online marketplace apps, where in 2019, there were only five reported incidents for the entire year.
Online buy/sell apps enable criminals to arrange face-to-face meetings with their victims. They lure their victims, who they know will be in possession of cash or high valued items, under the guise of completing a buy/sell transaction. Goods are often advertised at significantly lower price than their actual value – this tactic is used to entice buyers and persuade them into making a deal. In the cases reported to Surrey RCMP, the victims of these robberies were threatened, or assaulted even though the transactions occurred in public places.
We recognize that online marketplaces offer buyers and sellers convenience and affordable deals, but it’s important to keep in mind you’re dealing with a stranger on the other end, says Sergeant Ryan Forbes of the Surrey RCMP Robbery Unit.
Meeting with unknown people can put you at risk, even when you meet in a public place.
Surrey RCMP Robbery Unit recommends these tips if you plan to meet an unknown person to buy or sell an item:
- Insist on a public meeting place during the day, such as local businesses with regular foot traffic
- Gather as much information as possible so you know who you’re dealing with, such as their full name and cell phone number
- Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home
- Only meet during daylight hours or in a well-lit and heavily populated area
- Be especially careful when buying or selling high value items
- Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and when you’re meeting the buyer/seller
- Take your cell phone and a friend along to accompany you
- Always trust your instincts while arranging a meeting
Anyone with information about these occurrences is asked to call Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or, if you wish to make an anonymous report, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.solvecrime.ca.
Cpl. Joanie Sidhu
Media Relations Officer
14355 57 Avenue, Surrey, BC, V3X 1A9
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