Police urge caution when selling items online, meeting buyers

Barrie police have issued a caution about selling items online and arranging to meet with a prospective buyer.
“With the holiday season behind us, many people are realizing that they have items around their homes that they may no longer require. Many of these gently used items make their way to online sites that specialize in providing a format that allows for sellers to advertise their items to potential buyers.
“Recently, a person who had advertised a mobile phone for sale agreed to meet a buyer in a large shopping plaza lot located in the City of Barrie, but at the last minute, the location was changed to an isolated, less travelled area. The seller did not feel good about agreeing to the last minute change in plans, but did so reluctantly. Unfortunately the intended buyer arrived with a friend and armed with a large knife attempted to rob the seller.
“This incident did not end in a robbery, nor did the intended seller sustain any injury, but the outcome was not something that the intended seller expected. Thankfully, when things started to go wrong, the seller, who also brought a friend, was able to call for police who were able to respond quickly to the area.”
The Barrie Police Service is reminding the public to never compromise your safety when completing a transaction and strongly recommends the following tips that will hopefully ensure your safety:
• Meet in a busy place during daylight hours.
• Meet in person to inspect the product.
• Bring a trusted friend or family member along as a witness.
• Bring a cell phone in case you need to call for help.
“If you must go alone, tell a friend or family member when and where you are meeting someone. Don’t invite a stranger into your home. It allows them access to the layout of your house, gives them information regarding alarm systems and/or dogs and provides a chance to see any valuables you may have.
“Never tell your schedule to a stranger. They do not need to know when you will not be home. Don’t erase any e-mails, texts or voicemails between yourself and the seller or buyer.