Safety tips for buying and selling online

Safety tips for buying and selling online

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Whether it is meeting for a Tinder date or buying and selling in a Facebook group, you are taking a big risk meeting a complete stranger from an internet connection. There are many names for exchanging goods from social media, namely "online garage sales". 

Lisa Low, Texas Tech social media expert said it is the convenience factor that makes it so attractive.

"So the popularity is because that's just where we spend our time and that really drives it." Low said. "I read a statistic, 79 percent of Americans shop online." 

Low said there are several red flags to look out for.

"People can create fake profiles with fake pictures." Low said. "I've read research where people think oh well it's safer because I see the picture of the person, well they can certainty create, five, 10, 20 fake profiles for that purpose." 

Chanda Allen created her own buy, sell group, "Trading Up" so she could sell her stuff in a safer environment. 

"To be in the group, you have to have at least one mutual friend with someone that's in administration." Allen said. "So there is a level of security and safety with that because everyone is connected somehow." 

"Trading Up" quickly grew to about 30,000 followers. While Allen said they have never had any complaints regarding safety, she still urges members to be careful.

"When in doubt, I always say back out." Allen said. "If anything is making you feel uncomfortable or you don't know that person, and they want you to meet them at night, no amount of anything you need is worth your safety." 

While Low thinks private groups are a safer option, she says there still is a risk behind meeting strangers online.

"Be cautious." Low said. "don't get that false sense of security,just because someone is a friend of a friend of a friend, cause it doesn't necessarily mean you know anything about them." 

Low adds you should also never give out your address, always meet in a public place in the daylight, and bring a friend.

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