Anchorage police warn of Facebook Marketplace robberies
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage police are alerting the public about a series of robberies involving Facebook Marketplace. According to a press release, some people have been using the online platform to sell shoes, but instead of delivering the goods, they have been robbing the buyers at gunpoint.
The robberies have occurred since the beginning of September and have followed a similar pattern. The seller agrees to meet the buyer at a specific location, usually a remote or isolated area. When the buyer arrives, two or three males confront them. One of them pulls out a gun and then takes everything the buyer has.
Renee Oistad, a spokesperson for the Anchorage Police Department, said that this is a dangerous situation that could escalate.
“We are concerned, obviously about people’s safety and about the possibility of this escalating. So we just want to make sure people are aware and are very careful before they set up any kind of exchange online regardless of the platform they’re using,” Oistad said.
Oistad said that no injuries have been reported so far. Still, she advised people to follow some safety tips when buying or selling items on Facebook Marketplace or any other online platform. These tips include:
- Checking the seller’s Facebook profile and making sure it looks real. They might be fake if they have no posts, few friends, or a generic photo.
- Only meeting during the day, in a public and busy place. Do not go to a secluded or dark area.
- Take screenshots of your conversations with the seller to provide evidence if something goes wrong.
- Don’t go alone to the transaction. Bring someone with you, or let someone else know where you are going and who you are meeting. Have a plan to contact them after the deal is done.
- If you encounter any trouble during the transaction, remember the details of the suspect(s) and their vehicle if possible.
“If you are able to get any details at all, that is really helpful: what they look like, what they’re wearing, the kind of vehicle they’re in, a license plate,” Oistad said. “You don’t want to put yourself in danger to get into these details. But anything you can absorb is great.”
Oistad also urged anyone who has been a victim of this type of robbery scam to report it to APD. To report it, call APD Dispatch at 3-1-1 (option #1) or 907-786-8900 (option #0). To report tips about these crimes, anonymously submit information at www.AnchorageCrimeStoppers.com.
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