BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — With the holidays right around the corner, it can be a busy time for everyone, especially criminals.

The Bessemer Police Department are investigating a string of robberies that happened after multiple people tried to sell electronic items on social media sites.

Police tell CBS 42 the suspect is buying items like cell phones and computers, but once it’s time for the exchange, the suspect takes off without paying.

Like many departments, these incidents occur yearly, but there tends to be an uptick around the holidays when people are looking to make some extra cash.

This year, the suspect is asking sellers to meet up for the exchange near the Bessemer Police Substation in the Southside Home neighborhood.

If you’re asked to meet a buyer at either 25th Street & Dartmouth Ave or 25th Street South & Berkeley Avenue, this could be a red flag to look out for.

“They’re very nice and they talk about having to sit with their grandma, so that’s why they need the item brought to them because they’re their grandmothers’ caretaker,” Bessemer Police Lt. Christian Clemons said.

“Another one is that they will pay extra money for bringing the item to them. So that lures people in by I can get more money than I was going to get in the beginning.”

Lt. Clemons also added that sellers should be cautious of handing over an item without compensation.

“When and if you do meet someone, try not to give up your item before it’s too late. One of the common practices, they use is especially with electronic items we’re hearing that they coach the suspected buyer to give up the items so they can plug it in to make sure it works, and then they never see that item again.”

To help avoid these incidents the department is encouraging people to meet up at public safe trade stations.

One location is at the Bessemer Police Department’s Emergency Operations Center.

There is an officer on duty there 24/7 and there are multiple surveillance cameras throughout the parking lot.