That cool quilt for sale on Craigslist (if you’ll pick it up at the seller’s apartment)? The vintage cocktail dress that the online seller wants to deliver to your door?
As more people use online apps to engage in buying and selling items, the risk of scams, robberies, and violence increases. So the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is offering their communities the use of their station public parking lots as safe options to meet for these transactions.
In West Hollywood, that station is located on the east side of San Vicente Boulevard, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard.
In an announcement of the offer, the Sheriff’s Department said “buying and selling items online has become very popular. Internet and smart phone apps allow you to take pictures and post items for sale in seconds. This convenience allows people to come to you and buy your items. This has caused purchasing to increase considerably. There are countless sites and apps where you can go to buy or sell items for significantly discounted prices.
“The majority of the people utilizing these apps are good, honest people, however, meeting a complete stranger and exchanging money for items could pose some inherent risks. So what can you do to increase your safety when meeting people to buy or sell items? Consider some of the suggestions below.”
–Meet at a reasonable time of day, preferably during daylight.
–Do not meet alone or with children present. Have someone accompany you.
–Avoid meeting at your home. If you must, due to the size of an item, consider placing the item in the garage or on the porch/entry way.
–If you agree to meet at a neutral location consider a well-lit area with people around and possibly video surveillance cameras. A grocery store or your nearest law enforcement station parking lot are good options. Do not meet in an area that is unfamiliar or uncomfortable to you. If the other party is not willing to meet you in a place you feel safe, do not meet.
–When purchasing items, inspect them for accuracy and be sure you are getting what you want. It is okay to change your mind and not purchase the item(s).
–If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. There are a lot of stolen items sold online. Drug users oftentimes sell things at extremely discounted prices just so they can get money for a fast high. Contact your local law enforcement if you think something is stolen.
–Be careful with your money. Do not open your wallet and pull money out in front of the seller. Consider having the exact amount agreed upon in a specific pocket.
–When purchasing online use credit cards or secure payment services instead of debit cards.
–When making online purchases in public, use your mobile phone network instead of WiFi.
“The safety of community members is of paramount concern to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and although they know that the vast majority of users are trustworthy, it is always better to be safe than sorry.”
If you feel you have been a victim of a scam or feel your personal safety is at risk contact the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at (310) 855-8850.