26 September 2023

Police warn sellers to put safety over profit

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ACT Policing is urging the people of Canberra to remember their safety when selling goods online following a recent spate of costly thefts.

Officer in Charge of Intelligence, Detective Acting Inspector Paul Reynolds said that in recent incidents, mobile phones had been stolen from sellers.

“In these incidents, sellers arranged to meet with a ‘buyer’ to complete the sale of the item,” Detective A/Inspector Reynolds said.

“The buyer asks for the phone to be unlocked to ensure it works correctly, and then they steal it,” he said.

“ACT Policing believes the stolen phones may then be used to conduct other offences.”

Detective A/Inspector Reynolds said caution should be a seller’s top priority.

He said ACT Policing was investigating several cases where offenders had arranged a face-to-face meeting, only to steal the phone as soon as it was unlocked.

“While phones are valuable, they are also portable,” Detective A/Inspector Reynolds said.

“Anyone looking to sell one should do the same as they would any other small but expensive item, and hold onto their property until the sale is complete.

“Police urge anyone selling goods online, especially phones or tablet computers, to take precautions that ensure their personal safety and that of their property.”

He advised Canberrans to choose a meet-up location that they were familiar with, preferably a well-lit public area where CCTV was operating; avoid meeting in vulnerable areas such as homes, car parks or playing fields, especially after dark; never meet alone; and have an exit strategy in case things didn’t feel right.

“Identify an exit route, and ensure you have access to a telephone to contact police if necessary,” Detective A/Inspector Reynolds said.

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