Did you ever want to buy or sell something on Craigslist or through websites such as Ebay or Facebook swap pages, but were concerned about safety while making the transaction?
A few years ago, a man in my area listed bargain furniture on Craigslist — and sexually assaulted a woman who came to his house to see the items.
Every time I think about making a similar face-to-face transaction, I remember that story.
Thought about trying to sell some things on Craigslist several time by bringing them into the driveway (or the front of the garage, and opening the door) for sellers to see them, but I wasn’t comfortable with strangers even knowing where I live — and was still fearful that something might happen if my neighbors weren’t around.
Fortunately, the local police department developed and promoted a unique way to ensure residents stay safe while buying from and selling items to strangers.
Both parties simply meet and complete the transaction under surveillance cameras right outside the police department door!
A designated spot is marked by signs and blue sidewalk paint just to the left of the front door and anyone can go to this Safe Exchange location to swap stuff. (And if the other party refuses to met there, they probably were up to no good anyway…)
The site can even be used for child custody exchanges, if needed.
Officers aren’t active participants in transactions; they don’t get involved in negotiations or checking anyone’s identification or serial numbers. But they do monitor security cameras, they come and go from the building and they’re a shout away if help is needed.
Here are some additional tips for safe buying and selling via online ads:
- Disable geotagging on your smartphone before taking photos to post online to keep other parties from seeing the location the picture was taken
- Conduct all transactions during daylight hours
- Tell someone where you’re going
- Bring someone with you, if possible, when exchanging items
If your town hasn’t developed a designated location like this, why not suggest it?
Or simply ask the other party to meet you by the door of the local police station on your own?
It’s a great way to make some extra cash or snag some bargains — while you stay safe! (The only problem is if the item is too big to fit in your vehicle…)
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