Police are asking people to be extra cautious when buying or selling expensive electronics online.
The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) has noted a rise in violent robberies targeting people buying or selling electronics on buy-and-sell websites.
Since Aug. 21, five reports of personal robberies in northwest Edmonton involved a person responding to an ad for a tablet or phone. When the victims of the robberies agreed to meet a potential buyer or seller, they were attacked and had their personal property stolen. Minor injuries and the threat of a weapon have been reported in the attacks.
Police have seen an upward trend of violence in each case.
These robberies have claimed upwards of $8000, and the assailants seem to focus on people buying or selling high-priced phones and tablets on popular sites like Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace.
There is reason to suspect that these types of robberies are linked to each other.
To avoid being a victim, EPS has outlined a few precautionary steps to keep yourself safe when buying/selling products online:
- When meeting with a buyer/seller, ensure that it is during the day in a public location. Avoid meeting in secluded places or at a stranger's home.
- Bring someone with you when you are going to meet a stranger, or make sure that a friend or family knows the details of where you are going and who you are meeting.
- Screenshot the buyer's/seller's contact info and all the messages and communications you had with them. Upon arrival, ask for photo ID and other contact info.
- If you are robbed, call for help as soon as it is safe and report any suspicious people, vehicles, or activities to the police.
Anyone who has been a victim of a robbery like this or has any information about these specific crimes, contact EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 on a mobile phone.