RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)

Crime

Surrey RCMP sees increase in reported robberies through ‘marketplace apps’

Police say there have been 13 reported incidents so far this year, compared to 5 in 2019

Surrey RCMP say it has seen an increase from the previous year in reported robberies through sales on “marketplace apps.”

So far this year, the detachment has received 13 reported incidents “related to online marketplace apps,” compared to five reported in all of 2019, according to a Surrey RCMP release Friday (June 5).

READ ALSO: Surrey RCMP say $14K in stolen phones recovered following investigation, April 9, 2020

Police said the online buy-and-sell apps “enable criminals to arrange face-to-face meetings with their victims.”

“They lure their victims, who they know will be in possession of cash or high valued items, under the guise of completing a buy/sell transaction,” the release states. “Goods are often advertised at significantly lower price than their actual value – this tactic is used to entice buyers and persuade them into making a deal.”

Surrey RCMP said in the incidents reported to the detachment, the victims of the robberies “were threatened, or assaulted even though the transactions occurred in public places.”

“We recognize that online marketplaces offer buyers and sellers convenience and affordable deals, but it’s important to keep in mind you’re dealing with a stranger on the other end,” said Sergeant Ryan Forbes of the Surrey RCMP Robbery Unit. “Meeting with unknown people can put you at risk, even when you meet in a public place.”

The robbery unit is recommending the following tips if people plan to meet an unknown person to buy or sell an item:

• Insist on a public meeting place during the day, such as local businesses with regular foot traffic

• Gather as much information as possible so you know who you’re dealing with, such as their full name and cell phone number

• Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home

• Only meet during daylight hours or in a well-lit and heavily populated area

• Be especially careful when buying or selling high-value items

• Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and when you’re meeting the buyer/seller

• Take your cell phone and a friend along to accompany you

• Always trust your instincts while arranging a meeting



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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