RCSO warns to beware of Craigslist robbers

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - If you're a Craigslist shopper, the Sheriff's Office wants you to be very careful about buying form the web after three robberies happened during Craigslist transaction in one week.

According to the incident reports all three incidents happened on B Street in Downtown Augusta. Two of the victims were robbed by a man with a gun and the other victim was given counterfeit money.

"We don't suggest that you meet someone when its dark outside. Obviously, that's a bad time," Sgt. Shane Mcdaniel told WFXG.

All three of the Craigslist robber incidents happened after dark on B street in downtown Augusta. Money and an XBOX were stolen. The third victim sold his Ipad for $270. He didn't realize until he left that most of the money, was counterfeit.

"If the deal seems to good to be true, then 99.9% of the time, it's too good to be true," said Mcdaniel.

One North Augusta woman said she was conned out of $2,500 when she tried to buy a truck for her son's birthday off of Craigslist.

"He was being deployed to Afghanistan and for me to wire him the money and the government will ship me the truck," said Alice Williford.

She sent the money and never heard from the seller again. After she got ripped off, she learned her lesson.

"Not to buy things, unless you do it by paypal, because PayPal guarantees your money and the product," said Williford.

Deputies said if you're going to use Craigslist, use it with caution.

"If you're going to go meet a seller at a location, take someone with you. The more the better. Criminals don't like witnesses, at all," said Sgt. Mcdaniel.

Also, meet in a mutual public place where there are lots of people, and of course, don't give out your home address.

"You don't want to follow a seller from one location to a secondary location because you don't know what's going to be waiting right there."

Deputies said right now they don't have anyone in custody for the robberies, but they do believe the incidents were related.

The RCSO said to use these tips if you're going to buy and sell on Craigslist.

If you're going to buy something from an online site, there are safety precautions you should take:

1.     Check out the seller's information: Ask for a phone number and an address. Take that information, and check the names of the seller online to find out who you are dealing with.

2.     Ask a lot of questions: Ask as many questions as you can before going to buy the product. If the seller can't answer your questions, there is a good chance that he doesn't actually have the product and could be setting you up.

3.     Don't buy from sellers who only list an email address: This should be a red flag that the seller has something to hide.

4.     Meet in a public place – Criminals don't want witnesses; meeting in a public place like a coffee shop or cafe can help ensure your safety. Most of the criminals on Craigslist are looking for an easy target and are not very likely to rob you in a cafe full of people.

5.     If it sounds too good to be true it probably is: A lot of these scams are pretty easy to spot. If the deal sounds too good to be true you are better off passing it up.

6.     Never go to a second location – If you arrive at the predetermined meeting place and the seller asks to go to another place, this should raise some serious red flags.

7.     Don't go alone.

8.     Show up early: If you are meeting in a public location, show up early and scope out the area. Watch for the seller and make sure everything looks legit. If you have even the slightest concern that something seems out of place, trust your instincts and leave.