BATON ROUGE, LA – Amid the recent tragic news of a New Orleans man killed trying to sell dirt a bike on social media, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting the public to take extra precautions while using online marketplaces.
“While the Internet can offer opportunities for social interaction and electronic commerce, it unfortunately can likewise host bad actors hiding their true intentions behind keyboards and screens,” said Attorney General Landry. “As we mourn the death of Mr. Vindel, Louisiana should also become aware of best practices to help stay safe with online marketplace transactions.”
Attorney General Landry listed the following tips for online sellers and consumers:
Meet at a police station. Beyond the usual advice to meet in a public place, conducting the transaction in the parking lot of your local law enforcement agency can add an extra layer of security. Many police departments and sheriff offices have dedicated exchange spots and can deploy personnel to oversee the encounter.
Bring backup. Never meet someone you do not know by yourself. Bring a friend or family member with you; share your phone location with a separate friend or family member.
Protect private information. Since you will be meeting at a public place or police station, there is no need for a buyer or seller to know your home address. Do not invite strangers into your home. Clear personal information from electronic devices before selling them.
Only bring enough cash for the purchase. Sellers demanding online transfers or payments before you meet to get the product should raise a red flag. There are many types of gift card scams; strongly consider avoiding transactions requiring payment with gift cards.
Vet buyer/seller and trust your gut. Multiple profiles with the same name and picture, new accounts or those with few friends/followers, and those with low ratings should be warning signs. If something does not seem right, cancel the transaction and walk away. No product is worth your safety and well-being.
For more consumer safety tips, visit www.AGJeffLandry.com or call the Louisiana Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.