Rapid City Police Department urges caution when purchasing through online marketplaces
While speaking to the reporting party, police learned they had attempted to purchase an item via an online social media marketplace.
The reporting party had agreed to meet the seller at 10 Surfwood Drive to complete the transaction earlier in the afternoon, and when they arrived to meet the seller, the seller asked them to come inside the building. The reporting party followed the seller inside, where the seller confronted them with a handgun and demanded the reporting party’s personal property from their person.
The reporting party then fled the scene uninjured.
The suspect was described as a skinny Native American male in his early 20s, wearing a pink hoodie, black hat and dark pants.
Police continue to investigate the incident and want to remind the public to utilize safe practices when purchasing items through online marketplaces.
When engaging in a transaction that began through an online marketplace, Rapid City Police Department’s Public Information Officer Brenden Medina focused a on some key pieces of advice:
- Always meet in a high traffic public location and stay in public view the entire time
- Conduct the transaction during daylight hours
- Bring a trusted friend or family member as an extra set of eyes
- Review the seller’s profile. If the marketplace site offers information on the seller’s transaction history, verify it’s positive
Why choose a populated public location
Medina explains that a populated area decreases the chance of something going wrong during the transaction or a crime being committed. Daylight hours, he continues, are the most ideal. However, if unable to meet in the daytime, a lit area is still an important factor.
“For whatever reason, you can not meet during daylight, make sure it’s in a well-lit place where there’s a bunch of other eyes out there who can see what’s going on. And if things turn suspicious or dangerous, other people can see what’s going on.”
Trust that gut feeling
If it feels to good to be true, act on the suspicion. Medina also recommends checking profiles to help further confirm any suspicions or prove that the seller is legitimate. Profiles can also have information such as sales history and reviews of service. However, if it still does not feel right, he advises on not going through with the purchase.
“No good deal on any online marketplace is worth risking your personal safety.”