Staying safe while swapping items on Facebook groups

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX/AP) -- A pregnant woman was murdered in a Chicago home after meeting a woman on Facebook who offered her free baby clothes.

Staying safe while swapping items on Facebook groups. (Source NBC)

It's always hard to guess people's intentions which is News 10 talked with Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth of the Ingham County Sheriff's Office about how you can be smart and safe when swapping things on the social media platform.

Police said the woman in Chicago was lured to the home which is the number one place -- police say -- you shouldn't meet someone to buy or sell something.

Marlen Ochoa's family says the 19-year-old met a woman through a Facebook group called 'Help a Sister Out.' Police say the woman then lured Ochoa to the home.

"So, detectives now learn on this day Marlen went missing and she arranged to go out there to pick up baby clothes or some baby items from this lady at 79th and Polaski," said Brendan Ddeenihan, Dep. Chief of Detectives with Chicago Police :

Police said someone in the home strangled Ochoa, ripping her unborn son from her body. The baby boy meanwhile is in a hospital and three people have been charged in her murder.

Ochoa's death is raising concerns about how people can safely meet and swap items via Facebook groups.

"I think the number one thing that people can do is always meet on your terms so if you're the one buying the merchandise from a stranger over the internet, you determine that predetermined place to meet and if they don't agree to it then simply don't buy from them," Wrigglesworth said.

Wrigglesworth said to stay away from using your own home and don't agree to go to where the person lives either. Instead, swap in a public place and during the daytime.

"Pre-arrange the location at a police department parking lot. I know there are agencies that have dedicated their parking lot as safe exchange places."

Lastly, Wrigglesworth said to trust your gut.

"If you're nervous, just don't do it. I don't think any piece of clothing or any even major purchase is worth having something being robbed or having something worse happen to you."

Another thing the Sheriff suggests is to let friends and family know the time and place your meeting someone and travel with a buddy.

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