Law enforcement authorities are urging sellers to protect their safety in the wake of a violent incident in Forest Lake after a Facebook Marketplace meetup.
A group of armed individuals targeted a seller’s residence at Ballandean Court in an alleged burglary, prompting concerns about the safety of online transactions. The incident revolved around the sale of an e-scooter listed for $2,000, with the intended buyers attempting to pay using counterfeit currency.
The sellers detected the counterfeit bills, leading to a confrontation that took a tragic turn. As night fell, two men, accompanied by another accomplice and armed, returned to the property in Forest Lake. Demanding the e-scooter, they resorted to smashing the rear glass doors of the residence. In the midst of the chaos, the family’s beloved dog was fatally stabbed.
The brave residents engaged in a backyard struggle with the attackers, resulting in two stab wounds and minor injuries to a 20-year-old man. Still, they managed to injure the attackers, forcing them to flee the scene.
Detective Superintendent Andrew Massingham emphasised the importance of vigilance and awareness when conducting online transactions. Sellers are being advised to prioritise their safety and take necessary precautions to protect themselves during in-person meet-ups.
Safety Tips When Selling Online
In light of the incident in Forest Lake, individuals engaged in online selling are encouraged to exercise caution and employ safety measures such as the following:
Don’t Use Your Home Address
Listing your personal home address as a business address exposes your family’s security to potential risks. Are you ready to face uninvited guests appearing at your doorstep? Is this a situation you truly wish to subject yourself and your family to?
The answer is likely a resounding “no,” especially considering the possibility of people showing up unannounced.
Meet in public
Opt for meeting in a public place during daylight hours and consider bringing a companion along. Decline any requests to meet at your home, in an unfamiliar location, or to go alone.
Avoid sharing personal information
Aside from house numbers, make sure your ad does not display personal information, such as images of your licence plate numbers or photos of your family members.
When posting ads, be cautious and avoid including personal details as much as possible. Focus solely on the item being sold. If you want people to contact you, consider using a free disposable phone number for convenience.