URBANA, Ill., (WCIA) — Buying something online through Facebook Marketplace or the Next Door app has picked up in popularity, but Urbana Police are sending a reminder to look for red flags while scrolling.
It comes after two armed robberies in Urbana on Oct. 13.
Urbana Police said they happened within a few hours of each other in different parking lots within the Town and Country apartment complex near Oakland and Cunningham Avenues.
They say the suspects lured the victims in by acting as if he was selling them cell phones and then robbed them at gunpoint before leaving the area. Police said the phones were advertised on Facebook Marketplace.
Mike Cervantes, an Urbana PD lieutenant said it’s happened before, but it’s preventable.
“Look for new profiles. Sometimes people will create new a new profile just to lure a victim in with a product that might be priced extremely low or maybe too good to be true. In those cases, it probably is,” he said.
He added that you should always trust your gut, bring someone with you and meet in a public space.
That can include the police station, including Champaign’s and Urbana’s. You can meet in either of their lobbies, both have security cameras.
The Urbana Police Department is at 400 S. Vine and the lobby is open 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
The Champaign Police Department is at 82 E. University, open 24 hours, 7 days a week. CPD also has parking spaces in their parking lot reserved for online exchanges. Those are also video-monitored.