Buffalo police warn public about using marketplace applications on their phones

Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 20, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo police urge the public to be careful when using certain applications to shop.

They said there's been an uptick in robberies during meet-ups arranged through some popular apps.

Some people fell victim to robberies using marketplace applications, like LetGo, OfferUP and even Facebook and Craigslist.

Since July of of last year, there have been 18 social market place-related robberies that were reported to BPD.

"Be aware, especially young people who use these apps, be aware that this occurring here in Western New York and you need to be careful," said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

While these applications may be a convenient and popular way to buy and sell goods, you have to be careful.

These robberies can happen when someone uses the app to arrange to meet a buyer or seller. And the alleged buyer or seller may be an alleged thief.

"You are free to use any Buffalo police station for conducting these transactions," said Captain Jeff Rinaldo. "Every one of our station houses has a public has a public parking space generally right in front of the building, or the lobby of the police station. But again, follow your common sense."

BPD said app users can take steps to avoid becoming a victim.

Always arrange for the exchange to happen during the day and in a public space, or even the lobby of a police station.

Don't go a lone, or at least have a cell phone on you.

And trust your gut; if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

Police have arrested three adults and one juvenile and they've been arraigned this month. Some of them were repeat offenders who targeted people.

Captain Rinaldo also said if someone is overly anxious to buy or sell something, that's a red flag.

Never give them any of your personal information, you can give them a very generic description of what you're wearing.