May 04, 2021
The online swap sites have become a very convenient and inexpensive way to do business, not to mention better for our planet. However, caution should be taken when meeting with strangers to buy or sell goods. Follow these tips to stay safe and happy shopping!
1. Meeting Location
Always meet in a public place during operating hours so that there are plenty of people around. Criminals don’t like an audience and now, with smartphones in every pocket or purse, it’s too risky to have video taken and posted.
That being said, it’s recommended to meet during daylight hours but choose a location with very good lighting if meeting after dark. Security cameras are also something to check for in the event the general public doesn’t take notice and start recording.
Check with your local police department about meeting up in their lobby or parking lot. Some will even spot you an officer if available but, even without one, crime is less likely to be committed there. Plus, many are covered by 24/7 video surveillance.
Some areas now have stores that post signs stating that they are a Marketplace Meetup spot. Check for listings in your city.
2. There’s An App For That
Check your app store for assistance. Specialized apps can help foster safe meetups between well-meaning people with confirmed identities. Their purpose is to act as liaisons between consumers and businesses/police stations to create safe community meetup spots. It’s a secure way to conduct business without giving away any personal information.
3. Stolen Items
Local police officers may be able to assist in yet another way. Some will check the items for sale to see if they’re stolen goods. For participating police stations, they’ll typically run the serial number to determine whether an item has been reported lost or stolen.
4. Money Exchange
One option is to meet at a bank so the funds can be verified on the spot while all parties are still present. If that is not an option, using apps such as Venmo and PayPal allow you to ensure funds are deposited prior to taking off. And, of course, cash is always king!
Buying and selling online can be a very safe and economical activity but, like anything, it’s important to stay alert and use caution. Always stay Per Mar protected!