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Tips to stay safe when meeting strangers to sell things online

Hear from an HPD officer on how to stay out of harm's way when meeting up with strangers to buy or sell things.

HOUSTON — Heading into the holidays, some people may want to sell or buy items online.

But, what’s the best way to stay safe when meeting up with strangers to make a sale?

RELATED: 19-year-old shot while trying to sell PS5, HCSO says

Houston Police Department Officer Robert Arriaga said protecting yourself as much as possible is key when meeting up with someone you don’t know to do a transaction.

The Houston Police Department Midwest Division Substation is one of 14 scattered across the city.

Arriaga said it’s a prime spot people often forget is available to them when meeting a stranger to buy or sell something.

“We’d never recommend having the buyer or seller meet at a residence,” Arriaga said. “Once they’re at your house, they can discover all kinds of things. They know where you live. They could park outside your residence and see what time you leave for work to potentially go into a burglary.”

He said there are safe drop locations, like police stations, where people can safely do these kinds of transactions.

RELATED: How to shop safe this holiday season

“What that area is designated for is for both the buyer and seller to meet in a location that is safe, that is well lit, that is visible, (where) there is high traffic of foot and vehicles,” Arriaga said.

Also, he said if you do plan to buy or sell online, look for red flags. He said if a deal appears too good to be true, it probably is.

“What you really want to do is do your research, take your time,” he said. “Just because somebody says 'I’ll buy it, $300 cash right now,' doesn’t mean you have to rush into it. That could be a lure for someone to get you to arrive.”

More tips are to never go alone and avoid meeting up with someone at night.

HPD said if things do go wrong, just comply because nothing is worth getting hurt or killed.

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