The idea of buying and selling goods with local people online can be enticing. However, the allure can also attract unscrupulous folks who might want to rip off or harm other folks.
It is for this reason that Captain Gillespie, Commander of the MCPD’s 5th District in Germantown, has created a place where folks completing online transactions can go a feel safe meeting strangers. The two Safe Exchange Zones are in the parking lot of the 5th District Police Station and are under video surveillance. The two designated parking spaces are marked with a Safe Exchange Zone sign. The spaces are in the front lot of the police station located at 20000 Aircraft Drive in Germantown.
“Recently, we have had a couple of robberies or thefts where people have been victimized as they meet someone to either purchase or sell an item that was listed online,” said Gillespie.
He stressed that the Safe Exchange Zones are not actively monitored by police, but the area is under video surveillance so that if something illegal did occur there would be video of the crime. He also said that individuals can always meet in the lobby of the 5th District Station house to complete their transaction.
Montgomery County Police say that all six police district either have, or will have, a Safe Exchange Zone for such transactions. MCPD has the following recommendations for anyone taking part in a transaction as a result of a Criagslist.com, OfferUp.com, Ebay.com, or Letgo.com type ad website.
Always meet a buyer or seller in public place that is well lit and populated.
Tell a friend or family member where you are going and if possible bring a friend with you.
Inform buyer or seller that you will not be alone.
Trust your instincts if a transaction sounds too good to be true it may be a scam.
Do not invite strangers into your home.
Never give out personal or financial information.
Counterfeit cashiers checks and money orders are a possibility. If possible conduct transactions involving money orders, cashiers checks, or checks at the respective banks.
For more information contact the 5th District MCPD at 240-773-6200.