PEORIA, IlL.– Online purchases turned crime opportunities is on the rise in Peoria.
In 2018, from January to October 20, the Peoria Police Department saw five criminal cases arise from Facebook Marketplace meet ups gone wrong.
From January until October of this year that number is already at 12.
When it comes to online transaction apps, like LetGo, PPD saw two in 2018 to seven this year.
Department Spokesperson Amy Dotson said apps like these can and are used appropriately; however, buyers need to be more conscience before meeting up in a non-public space.
“We have to be cautious of who we’re making deals with and where we’re agreeing to meet,” said Dotson. “We talk about stranger danger with small children…this is the same thing. This is online and this is even scarier. It’s stranger danger. You have no idea who you’re talking to and making deals with.”
Other red flags that investigators have noticed is that with online apps, users don’t have to verify accurate identification. Meaning, fake accounts are easy to create and use. Often times, when meet ups are planning, the buyer will reschedule to meet somewhere else.
If you are looking to buy or sell from localized online platforms utilize the Peoria Police Department’s public lobby.
It’s under video surveillance and it’s open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm.