Montgomery County Police warn residents to be careful when picking up online purchases in-person

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) -- These days, people buy everything online, from clothes to phones to furniture, but Montgomery County police are warning residents to be especially careful when picking up those purchases in person.

"Robberies, thefts, we're seeing them throughout the county," Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti said Tuesday.

That includes an incident in Burtonsville a little more than a week ago. Police say a man planned to buy a used cell phone. He'd connected with the supposed seller on an app called Let Go, but when the buyer showed up to make the exchange, police say he was robbed at gunpoint, losing the more than $500 he'd planned to spend on the phone.

"We just want people to take certain steps to keep themselves safe," Innocenti said.

Those steps include meeting the buyer or seller in a public place, bringing a friend with you if possible, letting the buyer or seller know that you won't be alone, and maybe most importantly -- trust your instincts.

"If something's telling you that it just doesn't feel right," Innocenti explained, "We ask that you err on the side of caution."

This isn't just a Montgomery County issue. Other police departments, like those in Fairfax and D.C., said they've seen similar problems too.