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Garage sales can be an easy way to make some quick cash and this time of year, you can spot sales signs popping up all over Northeast Ohio.

Crooks have noticed those signs too, and will seize any opportunity to rip sellers off. But we're going to show you how to outsmart them.

The first rule of hosting a sale is to never host alone.

Leanne Lapinta has been holding an annual sale for as long as she can remember. She never works alone and, as far as she's concerned, the more eyes the better.

Lapinta also says know your merchandise.

"You will find that people switch price tags. But if you know your stuff and you can know how much you've priced it for, you can typically figure it out," Leanne cautions.

She found this happened most often with computer games and DVD's and, for that reason, she no longer sells them.

"Barb," another garage sale pro, will only make change for small bills.

"If somebody game me a $100 bill, I would say no. I don't have change for that. I would worry about counterfeiting," Barb confesses.

Small bills and no checks, experts say. If you want to protect yourself further, you can buy a counterfeit bill pen at a local office supply store. They are only a few dollars and with just one swipe, you can tell if a bill is good, or not.

Both Barb and Leanne also say don't use cash boxes. It's better to keep the cash on you.

"I keep my money on me and as I make money I take it in the house and lock it," Leanne says.

If you do have a cash box, have someone watch it at all times. Also, be wary of people working in teams.One thief will distract a seller, while another steals items, or cash.

Another veteran seller "Eileen" says she has seen this happen. "Sometimes a large group of people will try to come in and try to swarm the garage sale, and may try to walk away with something," she cautions.

Also, keep your house locked at all times and never let anyone in to use your bathroom or phone.

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