The year is 2021. You’re looking to purchase a second-hand smartphone from someone you met on Kijiji, or maybe Facebook Marketplace. The seller asks you to meet them at an unknown location. What would you do?
Robberies, frauds and scams have become way too prevalent in such exchange-of-goods-situations, with Tim Bosma of Ancaster, near Hamilton, Ontario, even getting kidnapped in 2013 while accompanying potential buyers for a test drive in a pickup vehicle he had listed for sale online. Bosma’s body was subsequently discovered near Kitchener, west of Toronto.
Since then, cities across Canada have set up designated video-monitored buy and sell exchange zones, primarily in police station parking lots. The latest one has started operation in the Regional Municipality of Halton, in Southern Ontario.
“The purpose of the Buy & Sell Exchange Zone is to provide some additional peace of mind to those who are buying, selling, or trading property online,” reads Halton Regional Police’s press release. “If you are meeting new people while finalizing online transactions, we encourage you to use our Exchange Zone.”
The well-marked and under video surveillance exchange zone is located in the visitor parking lot of the Halton police 20 Division facility at 95 Oak Walk Dr.
If, for some reason, you can not meet the potential buyer or seller at such designated exchange zones, please complete your transactions in well-lit, public, and popular areas to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
Below are other tips provided by the Halton Regional Police:
- Only complete your purchase within daylight hours.
- Bring a family member or friend with you.
- Let someone know who you’ll be meeting when you’ll be meeting, and where you’ll be meeting.
- Always inspect the item you’re buying before handing over your cash.
- Don’t give out too much personal information.
- Use critical thinking. If something appears too good to be true, it most likely isn’t.
Image credit: Halton Regional Police
Source: Halton Regional Police