Safe Deal Zones and other precautions when selling/buying online

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It's the time of year you may clean out your closets. One way to make some extra cash is to sell your stuff online. But you need to be careful.

In 2015, a woman in Aiken shot and killed a man trying to rob her and another man during a Craigslist meet up. More common though are scams.

A Safe Deal Zone is a designated place to meet someone to exchange money for online goods. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office recommends using their building as a safe deal zone. But even if you do use a Safe Deal Zone you need to still use an abundance of caution when buying or selling anything online.

Tamara Covington could barely believe her eyes when she checked the mail at work.

"This is going to be good. This is going to be really good," she remembered thinking. Covington opened four checks for items she posted for sale on Craigslist and other websites.

All four checks were for written for amounts over the price she set.

"They say they'll have a shipper come by and to pay the shipper out of the funds and you keep the rest of the money," she said.

"A $200 necklace has turned into a $2500 check."

It sounded too good to be true so she checked in with the banks. The banks told her the businesses and accounts on the checks are real but the people who wrote the checks are scammers.

"These people are going to businesses and getting their bank accounts I guess breaching their bank account information so it is a legit check it's just not a good check," she said.

Covington is thankful she thought to call the banks before cashing in. She also is thankful she never gave the scammers her home address.

"You hear about this all the time but you never think it's going to happen to you."

Columbia County Sheriff's Office is in the process of coming up with several Safe Deal Zones. In the meantime, wherever you live, remember to meet in a well lit public area like a law enforcement center.

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