Online Shoppers Could Pay Price for Stolen Goods - WBAY

Online Shoppers Could Pay Price for Stolen Goods

Green Bay -

Three family members are behind bars in a Chicago suburb for selling millions of dollars of stolen goods on eBay.

Investigators say the three adults would shoplift from stores like Barnes and Noble and Toys "R" Us, then sell the merchandise on eBay, pulling in more than $3 million dollars over the last decade to support their lifestyle. Police say it's likely they aren't the only ones selling stolen goods on sites like eBay.

When buying goods online it's almost impossible to know if what is purchased was stolen. If stolen goods are purchased, even without knowing, the buyer could pay the price.

Police say they'll get the stolen goods back so they can return them to their owners.

"If we find out you have that item, unfortunately it will be our responsibility, and our role and our job to get it back to its rightful owner," said Lt. Chad Ramos, Green Bay Police Department.

Which means the buyer is out of money.

"Now you've become a victim," Ramos said.

Police tell WBAY there are some warning signs the goods may be stolen.

"If the price is too good to be true for something, that could be a red flag or an indication that it could be stolen or something's not right," said Ramos.

There are ways to protect yourself.

"Look at the seller's feedback," said Susan Bach, Better Business Bureau. "Make sure they have a high feedback percentage of positive ratings."

Ramos suggested to ask the seller how they obtained the item, then determine whether or not their story is valid.

Paying with plastic may not be a bad idea either.

"Credit cards are wonderful things because they do come with some sort of buyer protection," said Bach.

Green Bay Police said while the majority of purchases are okay, these crimes do happen.

They also said to protect your own valuables by writing down the serial numbers of your electronics and taking photos of other valuables so you can give the information to police if they're ever stolen. That way police can get the goods back to you once they find the thief.

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