After several reports of fraudulent online buy and sell offers in the month of July, the Grande Prairie RCMP is reminding residents that there is a designated safe exchange zone located at the detachment.
Sergent Shawn Graham says the zone has been in place since 2016, as a place for those looking to buy or sell an item online can meet up in a location that could potentially be much safer than other options on the table.
“It’s a place that people can conduct their transaction and feel someone safe just due to the area,” he says. “It’s a high traffic location, it’s well lit, it’s monitored 24 hours a day by surveillance.”
Graham says there are also several tips and tricks mounties offer up on a regular basis for people looking to keep themselves safe. He says some rules of thumb keep in mind include not meeting people in secluded locations or inviting strangers to your home. He adds it’s also a great idea to try and let others know of your intentions to meet up with someone to purchase something.
“Meeting during the day, have someone come with you, [or] if you can arrange, let friends and family know where you’re going, and details on who you’re meeting,” he says.
“Don’t let the seller how you’re going to be paying if it’s not necessary, if the seller is aware you’re going to be arriving with a large quantity of cash, that’s kind of an excellent opportunity for a robbery to take place.”
Graham suggests another way residents can keep themselves from being defrauded when it comes to online shopping is to steer clear of public wifi, especially if the deal requires sensitive information, including credit card numbers.