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Lodi man robbed in Craigslist scam

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Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:07 am, Thu Dec 30, 2010.

A Lodi man was robbed and beaten in Oakland on Sunday afternoon, the latest victim in an ongoing vehicle sale scam on Craigslist, according to the Oakland Police Department. The name of the Lodi victim, whose wounds were not life-threatening, was not released.

Department spokeswoman Officer Holly Joshi said at least half a dozen people have been roped into this scam so far, which has turned more violent lately. The first victims were only robbed at gunpoint, Joshi said, but recent victims have been robbed and assaulted.

Police believe the same suspects are behind the recent set of robberies. They have been described as black males between 20 to 30 years old.

Craigslist scams are nothing new to Oakland — Joshi said similar sets of incidents occurred in late 2009 and earlier this year.

The recent robberies have all taken place in residential areas, and the number of suspects involved constantly changes. Joshi said the ads involved were virtually indistinguishable from other Craigslist car sale ads, except that the price of the car was usually well below market value.

None of the victims have been from Oakland, Joshi said, and most traveled a considerable distance to get to the meeting site.

Officer Leo Ramirez with the Lodi Police Department said Craigslist scams are not common in the local area, but they are reported occasionally.

Police have several recommendations to avoid getting scammed, such as making sure to meet in a commercial or heavily-traveled area.

“It’s really easy to isolate people in a residential area,” Joshi said.

It’s also best not to carry cash with you to a possible transaction meeting, and if you do find yourself in a robbery, police recommend giving up the item in question right away. People tend to get hurt when they refuse to give items up, Joshi said.

“Internet sites are a wonderful way to buy and sell things, but you always have to be cautious,” she said.

Contact reporter Fernando Gallo at fernando@lodinews.com.

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  • Kim Lee posted at 2:54 pm on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

    Kim Lee Posts: 1798

    This is unfortunate and I am so glad that this victim's injuries were not life threatening. I have done quite a few transactions through craigslist that went very well. There are a lot of nice people out there that are honestly interested in selling/buying and are honorable good people. There are many good tips in this article for staying safe when going into a transaction with a stranger. And, yes, if the deal seems to good to be true it definitely is too good to be true, whether it's on geebo, craigslist or any other site.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 6:09 pm on Wed, Dec 29, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Greg, thank you! I printed this off and will use it for a checklist for future consideration.

  • Simon Birch posted at 7:35 am on Wed, Dec 29, 2010.

    Simon Birch - Online Manager Posts: 139 Staff

    Greg: Good advice. Thanks.

  • Greg Collier posted at 6:57 am on Wed, Dec 29, 2010.

    Greg Collier Posts: 1

    Keeping safe on Geebo and other classifieds sites:

    It is important that you know how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when using online classified advertising sites. Here are a few reminders:

    •When selling, do not put your home address in your ad.
    •To avoid scams, buy and sell with people you can meet locally, in person.
    •When meeting with someone you don't know, meet in a public place. If that's not possible, have a buddy with you. Also, carry a cell phone; if you feel unsafe, you can call a trusted friend, and stay on the line.
    •Never give out financial or private information like account numbers, PayPal login, or social security number.
    •If an offer sounds too good to be true, it is. Walk away!

    When choosing a classifieds site:

    •Use only sites where ads are reviewed before they go live on the site rather than relying a flagging or rating system that leaves users vulnerable in the mean time.
    •Use sites that do not carry adult ads. Not only do these present risks to our children, but they can harbor human trafficking activities that harm people and open the door to other criminal activity.
    •If you are unsure about the safety of a particular classifieds site, do your own quick research. Type the site's name into Google News or Yahoo! News. Are the results filled with news stories about crime? Then stay away. This is a case where no news is good news!



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