Sheriff's Station offers parking lot for online sales exchanges
The Lakewood Sheriff’s Station is offering its parking lot and lobby as a safe location for buyers and sellers to meet to complete online transactions through apps such as letgo, OfferUp, CraigsList and others.
Person-to-person online sales, which involve snapping a picture of your item, posting it online, and having someone agree to buy it for your asking price, are easy and convenient, but also come with risks. While the majority of the people using these apps are honest people, allowing a complete stranger to come to your home or other location to pay for and pick up the item can be a threat to your security.
Here are some tips to increase your safety when meeting people to buy or sell items:
• Meet at a reasonable time of day, preferably during daylight.
• Don’t meet alone or with children present. Have someone accompany you.
• Don’t hand over the item until you have the cash in hand.
• Avoid meeting at your home. If the item is too large to transport easily, consider placing it in the garage or on the porch/entry way. First, meet in a public place (bring a friend) to see proof of identity. If you’re comfortable, allow the person to follow you home. If the buyer has brought someone, keep them together in your presence. The less they see or have access to your home and personal belongings, the better.
• If you agree to meet at a neutral location, consider a well-lit area with people around and possibly video surveillance cameras, such as the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station lobby or parking lot. Don’t meet in an area that’s unfamiliar or uncomfortable to you. If the other party is not willing to meet you in a place you feel safe, don’t meet.
• When purchasing items, inspect them for accuracy and be sure you’re getting what you want. It’s okay to change your mind and not purchase the item(s).
• If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. There are a lot of stolen items sold online. Drug users may sell things at extremely discounted prices just so they can get money for a fast high. Contact your local law enforcement if you think something is stolen.
• Be careful with your money. Don’t open your wallet and pull money out in front of the seller. Have the exact amount agreed upon in a specific pocket.
• If paying online, use credit cards or secure payment services instead of debit cards.
• When making online purchases in public, use your mobile phone network instead of WiFi.
The Lakewood Sheriff’s Station is located at 5130 Clark Avenue, next to City Hall. Call 562-623-3500 with questions or concerns.