Officials issue Craigslist warning

October 26, 2010 5:19:25 PM PDT
A crime alert has been issued in Cumberland County involving Craigslist and the new way some criminals are now using it to victimize people looking for a good deal.An estimated 50 million people use the localized classified ad web site to buy and sell things.

Authorities say last week, two Cumberland County residents were robbed while making business transactions in two separate incidents.

The first victim was a man answering an ad for what he says was a really good computer buy. He told authorities he was told to bring $400 in cash. However, when he went to an address to look at a computer, thieves jumped him outside the home, stole his money and beat him up.

The second victim told investigators he sold an item from his home to a man and a few hours after the sale, another man kicked in the back door and robbed him at gunpoint.

Deputies say the cases weren't connected, but were both crimes of opportunity.

They are offering residents some suggestions when dealing with people through the popular website -- take someone with you to inspect or buy an item, if possible meet in public, never enter a strange residence, don't conduct business transactions inside your home and trust your instincts.

"The best warning is if it doesn't feel right it probably isn't," Spokesperson for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department Debbie Tanna said. "You pretty much get that strange sensation that something is not right and if it isn't just back off."

Cumberland County resident Charles Perry says he has done business on Craigslist for seven years and says people can find some good deals, but still need to be careful.

"It is a good business and you can make good money, but you have watch what you are doing, because there are a lot of crooks out there," Perry said. "You got to use common sense that is you got to follow safety rules."

Deputies say if you are victimized by someone via the internet, contact authorities immediately.

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