Transcript for Consumer alert: How to stay safe selling goods on apps
Back now with a consumer alert about staying safe when you use apps to buy and sell secondhand items. Millions use them but police are now warning they can also be magnets for criminals. ABC's Mara schiavocampo is here with important ways to protect yourself. Good morning, Mara. Reporter: Michael, good morning. These apps have become the most popular ways to sell secondhand it items boasting more than $20 billion in sales. Unlike sites like way these are all local exchanges set up through an app and require buyers and sellers to meet face-to-face. In some cases they're also more risky. It's an easy way to make fast cash. Use an app to post an item you want to sell, wait for the highest offer -- You agree to meet in a specific location. Reporter: But safety expert and former police detective Steve cardin warns sellers and buyers to beware of the person you might meet. Any time you're dealing with strangers your wristing level goes up. Whole body went numb. I was scared. Reporter: This woman says she took what she thought were all the right precautions when selling an iPad on the app offer up. She met the potential buyer in a populated community center parking lot and she brought her mother-in-law and son with her. But she says they were robbed. The only thing that they didn't take was my personal cell phone and my mom's iPad that we were selling. Reporter: Police departments across the country seeing so many of these crimes they're setting up safe meet-up spots like these in California, Connecticut and Florida in their parking lots for buyers and sellers to safely do business. Criminals do not want to commit crimes at the police department. They know that their likelihood of being arrested or getting caught for the crimes that they'll commit greatly increase when they come to the police department. The app offer up providing many of the signs for police departments telling us, in addition to safety features built into the app, to date we have shipped close to 5,000 meet-up spot signs to police departments nationwide. Another popular app letgo says tens of millions securely buy and sell billions of dollars in secondhand items on letgo every month. We constantly test new ways to ensure our app remains a safe place. Short of a police station where else can you meet. Three thing, a public place, a lot of people and a place that has surveillance cameras. Reporter: Now, these apps note that you can review buyer and seller profiles which include ratings so you might want to choose someone with a high rating. Never provide personal information. Always communicate just through that app. Good info there. Thank you, Mara. Coming up on our big board.
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