PALMDALE – A man was robbed in a Palmdale parking lot Thursday night when he thought he was meeting up with someone who wanted to sell him a phone, authorities said, while warning other local buyers and sellers to beware.
The robbery and attempted carjacking occurred around 9:40 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, at 3030 E. Palmdale Blvd., where the victim was supposed to meet with a seller he contacted on the phone app OfferUp, said Lt. Anthony Gunn of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.
The victim was instead attacked by three men, believed to be in their late teens or early 20s, who punched him several times before taking his car keys, phone and wallet, Gunn said.
The victim was able to get his keys back during a scuffle with the robbers and fled in his vehicle. The victim was hurt in the encounter but did not seek medical treatment, Gunn said.
In light of what was described as “an undesirable trend with online sellers and buyers,” authorities offered the following safety tips in an advisory issued Friday.
- Always meet during the day and in a well-populated public place. Never meet at your home or the individual’s home.
- Tell someone where you are meeting and what time the transaction is supposed to take place. If possible, have someone accompany you. There is safety in numbers.
- Never give your home address, business address, social security number or banking information to anyone, under any circumstances. Home burglaries and identity theft can easily take place with this type of information.
- Keep your cell phone close by during the transaction to call police at the first sign of trouble
- Do not use a personal email address, and disable caller ID when calling the buyer or seller by dialing *67 prior to the telephone number.
- Use a cashier’s check instead of cash. Make the cashier’s check a non-negotiable term of the transaction. If it’s a high-priced transaction, do it at the bank.
- Go with your gut. If the individual does not want to meet in a public area or is asking for information that does not apply to the transaction, consider this a red flag.