We all know stealing is wrong. Most of us had that drilled into us as children even before we knew there were more complex moral problems in the world.
Sometimes, in desperation, people act in ways they would not ordinarily act. Maybe if you’re reading this, you’ve never been tempted to steal from a friend. Or, maybe you know all too well what it feels like to be in need and to see those around you with expensive possessions. Maybe you haven’t acted on it, but you’ve said to yourself: “she doesn’t need that. She won’t even miss it.”
Examples of Online Trading Group Theft
This is what happened in Houston, Texas in January. One woman had posted some items for sale on the Facebook “Memorial Area Trading.” Because her items could be seen by her friends and those in her community, it felt safe to let a woman from her group into her home and then into her bedroom to try on some clothing while someone else used the restroom.
The first woman had known the other for a long time. She’d been part of an effort to raise money for her friend’s son’s medical bills when he’d gotten a serious baseball injury.
However, in a few days, the first woman noticed a jewelry pouch, some perfume, and several items missing from her closet.
Her friend brought some of the items back with an apology letter, but the first woman is still missing over $40,000 in jewelry. In a confession to police, her friend said she’d melted down, sold some of the jewelry, and had returned all she’d still had.
There have been reports across the country of scams involving Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. As reported by Fox 2 News St. Louis, a teenage girl selling stolen goods on Facebook Marketplace and then claiming the stolen merchandise was her boyfriend’s.
Another article published in the Huffington Post warns about the use of Craigslist to scam people out of money or even to perpetrate identity theft. Sometimes, as in the case of this Craigslist article, to avoid being a potential victim, you have to search pretty hard to find the catch.
In this case, the author knew it was a scam because Google Wallet does not hold money in escrow. It does not hold funds you send before dispersing them to a second party. If the writer of the article had believed the elaborate set-up and sent the funds, they may have been lost to him forever.
Safety Guidelines to Protect Yourself from Online Trading Group Theft
As these examples show, there are two potential problems with online trading groups: the first is your own physical safety and the safety of your possessions. You can reduce your risk if you follow some guidelines for trading:
- Don’t invite people into your home. Instead meet in a public place.
- Meet during the day in a populated area, not at night.
- Don’t go alone. It is always safer to have someone with you.
The other danger of trading online, or buying online, is that you might have money or your identity stolen. If you read between the lines of the examples above, one good guideline will become clear: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Even if you believe the story the potential scammer tells you, trust your instincts. No normal person is going to sell something worth $40,000 for $2,000, most likely.
If you are on the other end of what the law calls larceny and fraud; if you’ve stolen property and you’ve been caught, seek professional help. You could be facing felony charges, like Christina Johnson may face, because of the value of the property she stole. It’s a serious charge and you need an experienced attorney on your side. Call today.