Buying gifts online: Local experts weigh in on safety, quality of exchanges

Buying gifts online: Local experts weigh in on safety, quality of exchanges

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Online marketplaces like Facebook may bring great deals, but making the in-person exchange can pose risks.

Huntsville Police Department spokesman Lt. Michael Johnson said locals should offer to meet buyers/sellers at an HPD facility, in an effort to dissuade would-be criminals.

If locals don’t want to meet at the department, he said use common sense as a defense.

“If they’re inviting you to a place that you know is an obscure place that you know that has no lighting, it’s a neighborhood you’re not familiar with, it’s a business district you’re not familiar with, it’s late at night, businesses are closed, just general common sense things about the place they’re proposing you meet should throw some red flags,” he said.

Johnson also said to never invite strangers into ones home.

Once the exchange has been arranged in a safe location, the purchase of video game electronics presents an opportunity for scammers to sell knock-offs.

Rocket City Arcade owner Herman Pool said to analyze the quality of the product before walking away.

“Make sure you watch out for counterfeits, especially counterfeit consoles. A lot of times you’ll find systems that seem a little too small but look like the original, that have some weird writing on it you can’t read. Chances are those are counterfeit,” he said.

Pool said sometimes what you see is what you get.

“If it looks dirty on the outside, chances are inside it’s dirty too and it probably won’t work,” he said.

Pool said holiday shoppers should do their homework before buying in an online marketplace, or save the hassle and go to a reputable game store.

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