Tips for safe online purchases

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Tips for safe online purchases

The death of a Cobb County couple who drove 200 miles south of Atlanta to meet a man claiming to own a 1966 Ford Mustang convertible has once again highlighted the dangers of online scams.

While police are still sorting through what happened to Bud and June Runion, investigators and consumer safety experts say online ads, like the couple’s Craigslist ad seeking to purchase the car, are fertile territory for scam artists and other criminals.

“Customers should always use caution when making sales or purchases online, especially when a meeting is required,” said Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Jake Smith. “A common scam is for a suspect to offer a fake product, or offer to buy a product, in order to prompt a meeting.”

Others, including the folks at Craigslist, say potential buyers and sellers should follow some basic safety guidelines before meeting anyone in person.

  • Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe.
  • Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home.
  • Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re going.
  • Take your cell phone along if you have one.
  • Consider having a friend accompany you.
  • Trust your instincts.
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