Early Wednesday, Nick Wilson posted on Craigslist, offering to sell his new iPhone. A woman responded, and she agreed to pay $900 in cash for the phone.
Initially, the plan was to meet inside the Barnes and Noble inside Crabtree Valley Mall at 4 p.m. But the woman called and asked Wilson to come to the parking lot because she had a baby.
Once Wilson saw the baby, he complied and went outside to meet the woman, who was with a female companion and the baby.
After making the exchange, Wilson began counting the money when something felt off.
"I saw that it was a little off-center, and just felt like computer paper," Wilson explained.
He then asked to see his phone back, but the woman began rolling her window back up. With his arm still inside the window, Wilson says she began driving away.
"They slammed in reverse, peeled out and then dragged me as I hung on to their car probably 150 yards," Wilson said.
As the car approached Glenwood Avenue, Wilson finally let go. Most disturbing to Wilson - he felt the women used the baby as a prop.
"While I was being dragged, I was literally staring at a toddler which really bothered me," said Wilson.
Coming up at 5 and 6 on @ABC11_WTVD - a Raleigh man says he fell victim to a Craigslist scam.... all as he was trying to sell his phone to pay for vet bills. His warning to others plus how you can stay safe when shopping online pic.twitter.com/faiVP2R0JL— Michael Perchick (@MichaelPerchick) April 19, 2018
While he escaped serious injury, his shoes were ruined by the asphalt, and he was out a phone and the $900 he expected to receive. That money was set to go toward vet bills for Wallie, a sick rescue puppy he recently adopted.
"We were going to an emergency vet operation, and I was trying to finance that," Wilson said.
He explained he's used Craigslist in the past without issues, but will be more cautious moving forward.
"There's a lot of times where people can get some incredible deals when they do use the Internet to buy things, but there's also predators on the Internet that look for ways to rob people or either take advantage of them," Lt. Chris Clayton with Garner Police Department said.
There's a "Safe Exchange Zone" located outside the Garner Police Department, which is monitored and available for anybody to use to buy and sell items, or for custody drop-offs.
Apex Police Department also has a Safe Exchange Zone.
Wilson says he's filed a report with Raleigh police. A spokesperson for Crabtree Valley Mall said since the incident is an open investigation, they could not comment further.
In an effort to try and recoup some of those funds, Wilson has set up a GoFundMe for Wallie's vet bills.
Meetup safety tips
- Meet in a public place (for example, a fast food restaurant)
- Be cautious and trust your instincts. If something does not feel right, leave.
- Meet during daylight hours
- Tell a friend or family member where you are going
- Take a friend with you, if possible
- Do not carry large amounts of cash
- Do not divulge personal information
- Be wary of last minute changes in the meeting location
Save any and all communications with the seller/buyer (text messages, emails, voicemails, etc.)