Published: Sep 23, 2022 07:00 AM
The Newtown Police Department has declared its parking lot an “Internet Purchase Safe Exchange Zone.” A sign marking it as such was recently installed.
Sgt Will Chapman on September 20 told The Newtown Bee the department had “heard word” that the community has been wanting something like this, and decided to help fill the need. With many websites offering members of the public a chance to sell items and goods to each other, a way to safely exchange those goods for local pick-up has become an increasing need.
“Whenever there is anything like that, there are people who are looking to take advantage of other folks,” said Chapman. “This is a place where people can have an extra layer of security, instead of meeting a stranger in their own home or at the stranger’s home.”
Chapman noted that anyone looking to scam another person in an online sale may be hesitant to do so in the parking lot of a police station.
Additionally, the lot is continuously monitored, so camera evidence can be used to find anyone who attempts a scam; at other locations, the scammer could “disappear without a trace.”
Chapman also offered some tips to avoid being scammed online.
Always use your best judgement when making an online purchase.
When buying or selling, set terms of what you are comfortable with. If someone tries to push you into a situation you are uncomfortable with, just move on and take your business elsewhere.
Avoid having a stranger at your residence; the best meeting places are in public.
Be wary if a seller is trying to force you to use a payment form or payment app you are not familiar with, or try to get you to pay in gift cards.
Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at [email protected]
Newtown Police Sgt Will Chapman stands near a recently installed sign designating the Newtown Police Department parking lot as an internet purchase safe exchange zone.
—Bee Photo, Taylor