September 19, 2016
HPD "OffersUp" Safety Tips for Mobile Buy/Sell App Use
If you are one of the thousands of Houstonians using mobile buy/sell apps, the Houston Police Department wants you to be safe when making arrangements to purchase or sell items on mobile buy/sell websites or cell phone apps.
Items are posted for sale on popular websites or social media apps, such as LetGo or OfferUp, and persons interested in making purchases communicate through the website. Persons then arrange to meet to exchange money for the items sold.
If you are going to make purchases or sell items using these apps or websites, follow these robbery prevention safety tips:
- If you are going to exchange money for property, do it in a public place (police station, public parking lot).
- If possible, have someone accompany you to the location.
- Don't invite strangers to your home or go to their residences.
- Perform transactions during daylight hours.
- Avoid displaying large amounts of cash. Take only the amount needed for the purchase.
- Utilize a proxy email rather than your regular email address to avoid revealing personal information.
- Trust your instincts and avoid uncomfortable situations. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Hear HPD Robbery Division Senior Police Officer J. Brieden speak about safe ways to conduct transactions on the HPD YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/Ei2cvlDQeYg
If you are the victim of a robbery, remain calm and DO NOT resist. Take no action that would jeopardize your safety. Follow the robber's directions, but do not volunteer more than asked for. Make mental notes of anything unusual about the suspect, such as appearance, scars, tattoos or type of weapon used. After the robbery, go to a safe location near the robbery scene and call police immediately.
Anyone who has been a victim in these types of cases is urged to contact the HPD Robbery Division at 713-308-0700 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
Remember that robbery is a crime of violence that threatens the safety and quality of life of a community. It is a crime of opportunity that can be reduced through awareness and prevention. For more information on robbery prevention and personal safety tips, visit http://www.houstontx.gov/police/keep_houston_safe/index.htm