Dangers of Using Online Services to Buy, Sell

Police recommend meeting at fire or police station, getting full names of buyers and sellers

North Texas police agencies are warning people to take precautions when using online services to buy or sell items.

The Arlington, Fort Worth and Grand Prairie police departments are joining forces help prevent crimes against people wishing to buy and sell popular items such as smartphones and tablets.

Jose Moreno, of Crowley, said he was assaulted while trying to sell an iPhone 5 for $550 by listing it on Craigslist. Things got rough when the would-be buyer tried to grab the phone without paying, he said.

"He just went straight to me and just hit me -- hit me in my back," he said. "And once he hit me in my back, I flew over and I hit another car, and I fell on the floor."

Fort Worth police Detective Brian Raynsford said police are looking for Jacoby Choice, 20, in connection with the crime.

Fort Worth police have seen an increased number of similar crimes this year, he said.

"We've had 10 -- at least 10 -- offenses directly involved in Internet buying and selling, two of which led to aggravated sexual assaults and one of which led to a homicide," Raynsford said.

Police say meeting at public locations such as parks or parking lots may not be the safest. Instead, they recommended using a fire station or even a police station lobby.

People buying or selling anything using an online service should also try to get the full name of whoever they are dealing with, police say. If possible, they should do a background check. People should also bring someone when meeting a buyer or seller in public.

Arlington has had eight robberies related to social media this year. Grand Prairie has reported a handful of offenses since last summer.

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