Sellers Advised Caution on Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace After Violent Home Invasion


Sellers are being advised to prioritise their safety in light of a recent violent home invasion after a Facebook marketplace meet-up in Brisbane. The incident involved a group of armed men who targeted a seller’s home with the intention of robbery, prompting police to issue a warning about the increasing frequency of such attacks. Previously occurring on a weekly basis, these offences now occur multiple times a day across Brisbane, according to authorities.

To ensure personal safety when selling items online, experts provide several recommendations. Firstly, it is advisable to avoid conducting transactions at one’s home address whenever possible. Instead, opt for safe and public meeting places, accompanied by someone else if feasible. If the item is too large to transport, try to arrange the exchange outside your home to minimise exposure to valuable items.

Additionally, it is essential to be cautious with the information you share. Criminologist Dr. Cassandra Cross from the University of Queensland spoke to the ABC and advises against sharing photos that reveal details of your home, as it may unintentionally disclose personal information. Trust your instincts and pay attention to your gut feelings about potential risks when interacting with strangers online. Victims often recall sensing that something was wrong but chose to ignore it, emphasising the importance of trusting these instincts.

Conducting research on the person you are dealing with can be invaluable. With abundant information available online, dedicating time to verify the reputation and credibility of the individual can help identify potential red flags. Checking their digital footprint, including social media profiles, can provide insights into their legitimacy.

When using online platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree, it is advisable to keep all communications within the app and refrain from sharing personal phone numbers. By conducting conversations and transactions on the platform, a third party can record and monitor the exchanges, enhancing safety and accountability.

Furthermore, it is wise to avoid cash transactions. Detective Superintendent Andrew Massingham warned of instances involving counterfeit currency. Instead, consider using payment platforms with built-in security features like PayPal. This approach provides additional protection, as PayPal can reverse the transaction if the goods are not received as expected.

By following these guidelines, sellers can take proactive steps to enhance their safety and minimise risks when engaging in online marketplace transactions.