Selling your stuff to unknown buyers can be a risky business, but you can lower the danger level by using the new Safe Exchange Zone in the parking lot of the North Bay Police Service. It hopes to move online transactions away from secluded parking lots, personal residences or other areas and bring them to a public place.
The lot is located at 135 Princess St W.
"The Safe Exchange Zone will allow individuals who wish to buy and sell items online through sites like Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji to have a safe and secure location to do so," says a news release.
Buyers and sellers can now meet in an open, public place that is monitored by security cameras and with police on-site.
Safe Exchange Zones also help to prevent potential scammers.
The North Bay Police Service has, in the past, investigated online scams in which, after the victim pays for an item online, the scammer provides the victim with a false address to retrieve the item. When the victim visits the address, they realize that the scammer does not reside there and there is no item available for pick-up.
This type of incident can now be avoided by buyers and sellers agreeing to exchange goods and payment at the North Bay Police Service Safe Exchange Zone.
Statistics show that only five per cent of the internet or telephone scams/frauds/thefts are reported. Many incidents go unreported due to shame or embarrassment on the part of the victim.
Online transaction safety tips:
- Meet in a busy public place
- Bring a trusted friend or family member along as a witness
- Keep transactions to daylight hours
- Do not erase emails, texts or voicemails between yourself and the seller/buyer
If you think you or someone you know may have been the victim of a scam, call the North Bay Police Service at 705-497-5555 or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. Ensure you are protected against scammers by visiting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website to learn about the most common scams.