Police warn people buying and selling items on the internet to use caution

Posted: Updated:
FAIRFIELD -

Fairfield police are urging New Jerseyans who buy and sell items on the internet to be careful after a 20-year-old man was assaulted and robbed.

Buy/sell and trade groups have become very popular online and social media as a way for people to find deals and make some extra money.

But 20-year-old Tom Campbell says that he learned the hard way that it is not always safe. Campbell sells high-end outerwear via social media. He says that someone offered to buy three North Face Supreme jackets for $5,000.

VIDEO: Internet seller who was robbed shares his story

Campbell set up a meeting spot at the Quick Check in Fairfield.

“They hit me up on Instagram and it was just like any other meetup that I planned,” the college student said.

But Campbell says that it did not go as planned. He says that the supposed buyer assaulted him, grabbed the jackets and ran away.

RELATED: Online shoppers urged to use safe exchange zones for transactions

“It all just comes down to…being smart. Especially for someone like me, who has been doing this for a while, I should have known better,” Campbell said.

Fairfield police were able to recover the jackets. They say that the suspect had a change of heart and tried to return the items. He was arrested instead.

Fairfield police say that buyers and sellers should trust their guts and do their homework before planning a meetup. This could prevent a tragedy from occurring.

In April, 20-year-old New Jersey resident Danny Diaz-Delgado was shot and killed while attempting to buy a PlayStation 4. Police say that the suspect, Rufus Thompson, did not actually have the video game system to sell, but made a post on Facebook so that he could rob the victim. 

“If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s the old adage, but it really holds true…If something doesn’t seem right to you, just don’t get involved with it. Use the internet safe zones if you can, bring a friend,” says Fairfield Detective Robert Sanger.

Several towns across the state have set up safe zones where people can meet to trade items they are buying or selling online. These zones are typically at the local police station or in well-lit areas with surveillance cameras.

Police say that if a town does not have an official safe zone, people may still meet at the police station to trade their items.

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