Tyler officials give safety tips for social media transactions

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A local man was able to defend himself from robbers Tuesday night after meeting up to buy a dog he had seen on a social media ad. The two people agreed to meet at a Family Dollar store on State Highway 155, just north of Loop 323. 
 
Don Martin, Tyler Police Public Information Officer explained, “In the process of the transaction between the victim and the suspect, they asked him to step to the side of the building, by the parking lot to go and continue their negotiations. In doing that, all of a sudden it turned into a robbery.”
 
Luckily, one of the victim’s was a licensed handgun owner, and drew his gun on the suspects, causing them to run away. Officials are using this as an example  to teach online sellers or buyers how to safely go about these types of transactions.
 
“When your buying things online, where your meeting people, you use good common sense. A lot of law enforcement agencies have set up what we call safe sites. Which basically says hey we are offering our parking lot for you to come and do a transaction,” said Officer Martin.
 
If that’s not available, you can always meet at a well-lit parking lot, for example a supermarket.
 
Craigslist and Facebook are very popular for conducting transactions, so the police advise these specific steps.
 
“Keep it during the day time, and go to an area that is surrounded by a lot of people. If you can go to a safe sight where maybe it’s caught on surveillance camera, that’s a good thing. And don’t go by yourself,” said Martin.
 
Thankfully, no was injured in the attempted robbery on Tuesday night, but officials warn it could have turned out a lot worse.
 

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