Buyer Beware - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Buyer Beware

Trading Posts on social media are becoming more and more popular. If you go to Facebook and just type the word "trade", you'll see a seemingly non-stop list. While for the most part they are legit and the people on them are selling good items, there are some people out there that are not.

"Just because one person screws up, doesn't mean everybody is going to be that way," said Alexandra McClung.

McClung got a steal of a deal on an I-pad. It turns out the I-pad was stolen. She paid $100 to a seller who gave her a hot I-pad that had been taken from the Burkburnett ISD.

"I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I was being a nice person," says McClung. "Even my husband didn't think anything of it until afterwards. So you do it. It's part of the risk."

That risk can come anytime you are buying something from someone you don't know. But, there are some ways to make sure you can be as safe as possible. Number one, where you make the exchange. Wichita Falls Police Sergeant Harrold McClure says make that exchange in a safe and in a well lit public area. You also have another choice.

"This is your community police department. This is your department," Sgt. McClure said. "You're more than welcome if you're not comfortable doing a transaction somewhere to come to the police department. The front desk is open. We have people do that all the time."

Sargent McClure warned, "If the buyer or the seller says 'I just don't want to go to the police department' that should be a red flag."

Sargent McClure also says if one of the parties all of a sudden wants to change locations at the last minute, that may be another red flag. Also, understand that if you just got a bad deal, there is nothing police can do for you. However, if you find that what you bought is stolen, let the police know so they can help you. Alexandra did that. Now an investigation is underway. The one thing she chose not to do, was going back and try and get her $100.

"It's not worth it," says McClung. "That's the reason we have police here, is so they can take care of that situation."

"If you're already dealing with someone who's not honest, or on the up and up, and they're willing to sell you the stolen property. That goes to the character, so you're not really sure what you're dealing with," said Sgt. McClung.

We also reached out to the Better Business Bureau for their take on how to avoid this. They gave us three simple tips.

They say a red flag should go up anytime you are offered simply amazing low price. If retail for an I-phone 6 is $600 dollars, and someone says they'll see you one for $100, think twice.

Also, watch for ads that have what are known as "stock photos". It's not a picture of what they are offering to sell. They could be hiding damage on the item or simply do not have the item to sell they are claiming. 

Finally, if you are sold something stolen, go to police with it. Do not try and handle it yourself.

Chris Horgen, Newschannel 6

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