Meeting an online buyer or seller? How about doing it in a police parking lot?
That’s the idea behind Project Safe Trade, a program from the Ontario Provincial Police that creates “community safe zones” to facilitate property transactions arranged on the internet.
Kawartha Lakes is the latest municipality to join Project Safe Trade by providing two designated “safe trade” parking spots at the Kawartha Lakes OPP detachment at #3028 Highway 35 in Lindsay.
Online classified and auction sites are often used as tools to sell stolen property to unknowing victims, and they can also present a safety threat. Only 5 per cent of internet or telephone scams and frauds are reported, largely due to shame or embarrassment on the part of the victim.
“Project Safe Trade’s goal is to reduce the number of offences related to online marketplace transactions, such as theft and fraud,” says community safety officer Constable Carrie Lanning of the Kawartha Lakes OPP Detachment.
The parking spots, which are identified by signs, provide a public space for people meeting strangers to complete an online sales transaction.
The idea is that having the spots in a police station parking lots will deter those who may be planning to commit fraud or theft.
However, the OPP does not monitor the spots, mediate transactions, or check serial numbers of items being exchanged.
The OPP also recommend bringing a trusted friend or family member as a witness during the meeting, to keep transactions to daylight hours, and to not erase emails, texts, or voicemails between you and the seller or buyer.