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Selling or buying online? Meet at safe trade location

Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 17, 2021

CITY OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s that time of year—you’re looking for the perfect gift. Some of those gifts are only available online or from local sellers on Craigslist of Facebook Marketplace.

When it comes time to meet up with the seller, or if you’re the seller, law enforcement says you should do it in a safe, secure place.

Captain Frederic Foels of the City of Tonawanda Police Department tells 7 Eyewitness News there are hundreds if not thousands of different scams out there, that seem to get more rampant as the holiday season goes on. One way to make sure you don’t fall victim to a scam is to meet at a local police department for your online exchanges.

“We have two cameras on this parking lot at all times,” Foels said.

The City of Tonawanda Police Department has two exchange parking spaces, where visitors can park and exchange goods. He says the spats are surveilled, safe and secure.

“We also use these zones for custody exchanges,” he said.

The Cheektowaga Police Department says it was the first to start this type of “safe trade” program in 2017. The department says its lobby, open 24/7 has audio and video recordings.

“If buyers or sellers don’t want to meet at a police department, that may be a clue something is not right,” said Lt. Brian Coons.

Cheektowaga police also say:

-Don’t automatically trust

-Guard personal details

-Practice security through obscurity

-Enlist a buddy