Local departments offer safe place to conduct internet purchase exchanges

NOW: Local departments offer safe place to conduct internet purchase exchanges

ELKHART, Ind. - Online marketplace transactions, like the ones conducted on Facebook Marketplace, are growing in popularity.

This growing trend also gives those looking to commit theft another opportunity to do so.

Some Michiana police departments have introduced a possible solution.

"A member of the public, who was seeing or hearing about an uptick in people being swindled or having objects stolen from them or robbed while they were trying to make purchases or buy things from people online, especially specifically Facebook Marketplace is the most popular one," says Elkhart public information officer Jessica McBrier.

The Elkhart Police Department has created a safe place where you could conduct your internet purchase exchanges.

This area is located in front of the police department's building and has 24/7 surveillance, is highly visible, and is a deterrent for criminals looking to set you up.

"A seller will agree to meet a buyer at their apartment complex, and the buyer will go inside to test the equipment and make sure it works. While the buyer never comes back out frequently. It is not their actual dwelling," says McBrier.

Electronics seem to be the most popular transactions criminals target, specifically gaming systems.

McBrier tells ABC57 News, for those looking to make a safe internet exchange but don’t own a vehicle you could use these safety tips.

"We encourage people to meet in a public place, do not give them your address and meet at your house do not go to their house and meet. Preferably during the daytime, I would encourage you as well to bring a friend or family member with you. So, you have an extra witness or support in case something happens, unfortunately," explains McBrier.

If you feel like somethings not right, you do not have to go through with the exchange.

"Tell the person I'm sorry, I don't feel comfortable with this. I'm not moving forward. And if you receive pushback from them, please call the police," McBrier said.

The Elkhart Police Department provided ABC57 news with a list of recommended internet purchase safety tips.

  1. Pick a public place.
  2. Avoid going into to someone's house and do not invite them to yours.
  3. See it before you pay.

Now remember if you become a victim of theft - call 911 immediately and provide as much detail as you can.

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