Selling and buying items on social media platforms safely

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Facebook Marketplace is one of many social media platform tools surging in popularity for people wanting to sell unwanted goods.

"I use it all the time," Charleston resident John Ly said.

"I definitely have bought clothes. I tried getting a TV once," Charleston resident Amanda Spiwak said. "[Facebook Marketplace is] a free open market. You can do whatever on your time. You can sell things not through a website and doesn't have much regulation."

As helpful as a tool these platforms may be, law enforcement officials are warning you to make smart choices to protect yourself.

Safe zones, like the one set up at Mount Pleasant Town Hall, are being encouraged after a string of robberies and attempted robberies from online sales.

"We have cameras that capture the transaction so if someone goes wrong, we have video of the person, car, tag," Mt. Pleasant Police Inspector Chip Googe said.

"Why not take extra precautions to make sure you're safe and there will be people around to make sure you have the safety that you need," Ly said.

"Whether it's to sell, find a bed and breakfast, stay at someone's home or whatever you want to do, it's good to bring awareness to the community," Googe said. "It's a great way to reach out to the community and give them a place to safely conduct their transactions."

Googe also advises to only buy or sell in well-lit areas, preferably during the daytime with security camera surveillance for an added level of protection. Also, try to bring someone with you. If you can't, at least let someone know exactly where you'll be and when.

"Trust your gut instinct. If something doesn't feel right or out of place or it just seems too good to be true, go with that instinct and don't conduct the transaction," Googe said.

These safe drop-off locations aren't just here in Mount Pleasant, they're all over.

For ten tips about buying and selling online, click this CNN article.

You can also always contact your local law enforcement for information and/or tips about buying and selling online.

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