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Tips to avoid danger in online classified deal exchanges

PHOENIX -- Shoppers are looking for a red-hot deal online and police are concerned that Craigslist thefts could jump during the holidays.

The biggest mistake people make is taking community classified sites such as Craigslist at face value, that it's as simple as an exchange of cash for goods. But it could be an opportunity for the criminal-minded.

Retired Phoenix Police Sgt. Andy Hill said buyers should never allow sellers in their homes.

"Make sure you're meeting them in a public place that has lots of people around. Not in a parking lot and not in a business that has nobody there."

Hill recommended bringing along backup and to meet in a familiar area.

"Don't go it alone," he said, and "make sure you're not being followed home. Do not give out your address or other personal information. You want to make sure they're not backtracking you to know you won't be at home if you're going somewhere else to meet them."

Hill said another red flag that there could be trouble is when the seller changes the meeting location at the last minute.

Hill also said to check the merchandise to make sure it's what was promised and try to complete as much of the deal as possible before giving up the cash.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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