There are handy ways to ensure you and your money are safe while shopping online and meeting sellers in person.
CHARLOTTE, NC – Facebook Marketplace Attracts Consumers With Great Deals; Get everything you want or need from furniture and cookware to used cars and electronics with one click.
But sometimes the listed items can turn out to be fakes. Now law enforcement agencies in the Charlotte area are issuing warnings not only about scammers, but also about violent encounters.
“It’s the wild wild west, anyone can post anything,” said Tom Bartholomy, president and CEO of the Better business office.
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Bartholomy says the marketplace allows users to buy and sell seamlessly, but with that comes a risk.
“Online shopping is the number one scam in the country right now and has been for three years, really since the pandemic began,” he said. “People’s purchasing behavior has changed, and that opens the door for scammers to take advantage of us.”
And since the police are divided throughout the subway area, the door is also open for dangerous encounters.
That Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said a recent transaction on Facebook Marketplace that led to an Oct. 4 shooting that seriously injured one person at a Steele Creek mall. Officials said the suspect met with an individual to sell a Dodge Charger he had listed but instead drew a gun during the meeting. The potential buyer tried to run away, but the suspect shot him in the stomach.
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“Whether you’re buying something or selling something, you have to be really careful,” Bartholomy said.
Police agencies are also still offering the same warnings about how scammers can take the money and run away without providing the goods. That Kannapolis Police Department recently shared a Warning to the public about a Facebook user who accepts payment for a children’s playhouse but never makes the product available.
Bartholomy offers some advice when it’s time to get what you want.
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“Meet them at the police station, it will quickly deter a potential thief or scammer,” he said.
Other tips: buy locally, don’t pay in advance and make sure you have the product in hand before paying. If you’re still being scammed, file a notification on Facebook so the social network can remove the post.
You can also visit the BBB scam tracker to share your experiences and warnings.