Safe Trading Online Transactions

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In today’s digital age many people find themselves meeting with a stranger to complete a deal that they brokered online or through a classified ad service. The Surprise Police Department would like to take the opportunity to share with you a few tips to help keep yourself safe when completing these sorts of deals. While the following suggestions are intended to make your meetings safer, they are by no means a guarantee.

Meet in a place that is public and has high visibility


If there are plenty of other people around potential offenders are less likely to take action as the chances of getting caught go up substantially. Examples of good locations include: a local police or fire station, a public park, or a high traffic business area.

Meet during daylight hours only


Daylight creates higher visibility and means that there is a higher likelihood of other people being in the area.

If possible, don’t go alone


There is some truth to the old adage: “Safety in Numbers.” If you do go alone make sure to tell a friend or family member all of the pertinent information such as who you are meeting, where/when you are meeting, and when you expect to be back.

Be aware of scams


There are simply too many to list, however, a good rule to follow is: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Avoid last minute location changes


Once you have set a location that is public and highly visible do not allow the other person to change that at the last minute; especially not to a more secluded area.

If you have agreed to take a check, cashier’s check, or money order:


Call the bank or issuer to verify the document’s authenticity. Make sure to call the number that is listed online, not the number on the document or the number the other person gives you.

Ask for proof of identity


This is especially important if you are the buyer. If the property you purchase turns out to be stolen the information you obtain at the time of the transaction could be integral to solving the case. Additionally, if the property is stolen it will likely be impounded by the police. If you obtained proof of identity and the police are able to arrest the subject for stealing the property or trafficking the stolen property you may be eligible for court ordered restitution to get your money back.