INTERNET EXCHANGE SAFE ZONE
The Plattsburgh Police Department, like many departments around the country, would like to provide a safe and secure location for exchange of goods sold on social media and classified advertisement websites. We would like to use our Police Station parking lot for these exchanges and provide an extra level of protection to meet. The parking lot is monitored 24 hours a day and is well lit in the evening.
Selling smaller items, such as jewelry, computers, cameras or coin collections often requires the seller to invite the buyer to a seller’s home to pick up the items. Displaying and exchanging those items in the police parking lot eliminates any potential danger to the seller, the seller’s family and their property.
“We have all read about innocent people becoming victims of scams related to buying and selling over the internet, a recommended safeguard is to conduct the transaction in a safe location,” Acting Police Chief Mike Branch said in a press release Monday. “Inviting unknown persons into your home or dealing with a group of people alone could result in unintended or harmful consequences.” “Although items cannot be stored at the police department or in the parking lot, if the item can be safely transported, such as a vehicle or lawn mower, people should consider conducting the transaction at our facility.”
We will designate two parking spaces in our lot for you to safely meet. This program will be instituted immediately, and we have provided signs to identify the designated exchange area. "This is the kind of service we need to provide to our citizens,” said Branch. "It costs the taxpayers nothing; it builds good will, and keeps people safer."
Branch also recommends the following safety tips for conducting a transaction with an unknown person:
• Use a phone or camera to capture a photograph of the vehicle license plate.
• Accept only cash or a cashier’s check for the sale. Personal checks have some risk; though the buyer can contact the listed bank to verify to account is active before finalizing the deal.
• Conduct sales during the weekdays so banks can be contacted if there is a problem.
• Avoid conducting transaction at night, take advantage of the daylight when visibility is good.