After recent robberies related to online sales, Seattle police are urging caution when meeting and selling through online shopping exchanges like OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace.

Two robberies in August were related to online sales meetups, and three people reported being robbed at gunpoint in June during attempted purchases and sales through OfferUp, according to Seattle police.

While the five precinct lobbies of Seattle police remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the SouthSouthwest and North Precincts have publicly accessible parking lots available for safe meetups with online buyers and sellers.

Here are some tips from Seattle Times readers, Craigslist, OfferUp, Facebook and police for safely meeting strangers for sales:

  • Never share confidential information with another person, such as passwords or phone numbers. Communicate through the apps.
  • Always buy and sell in well-lit, monitored, public sites, preferably with surveillance cameras, such as cafes, grocery stores, bank lobbies or public parking lots during a busy time.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re going.
  • Take your cellphone.
  • Never go to another person’s house or allow them to come to yours.
  • Bring someone with you when going to meet a seller or potential buyer.
  • Ask to see the other party’s identification.
  • When meeting a potential buyer or a seller, write down his or her license plate information.
  • On Facebook, you can create a meetup plan and share this plan through Facebook Messenger. Whoever you choose to share your plan with will receive the location, time and date of when you’re planning to meet.
  • Be wary of people who ask for a phone number or password or send you a link that requires you to log on. Never click on those links.
  • Trust your instincts.