Avoid becoming a victim of online sale scams at new Community Safe Trade Zone in Caledon

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Published October 19, 2023 at 12:30 pm

Online trade safe zone opp caledon brampton
Photo: Courtesy of the OPP

Meeting a stranger you met online for a purchase or trade can be risky business, but police are helping take some of the stress out of online deals with a new Community Safe Trade Zone in Caledon.

The Caledon OPP is inviting anyone making an online deal to make use of the Community Safe Trade Zone located at the detachment parking lot located at 15924 Innis Lake Rd. to make the trade.

Police say only 5 per cent of internet or telephone scams, frauds or thefts are reported, and many incidents never brought to police “due to shame or embarrassment on the part of the victim.”

The new trade zone is a way for police to increase public safety when making online deals and cut down on crime, as police say these kinds of deals can be dangerous business with online classified and auction sites often used as tools to sell stolen property to unknowing victims.

Officers won’t be mediating transactions, but officers will be on site should one of the parties need police assistance. The OPP says officers will only intervene if the transaction becomes a bylaw, provincial or criminal matter.

Similar trade zones have been launched in other municipalities, including Mississauga and Brampton through Peel Regional Police, reducing the risk of meeting a stranger in a secluded parking lot or private residence.

Here are some safety tips you can use to protect yourself when making an online sale or trade:

  • Meet in a busy public place, like a Community Safe Trade Zone
  • Meet in person to inspect the product
  • Bring a trusted friend or family member along as a witness
  • Bring a cell phone in case you need to call for help
  • If you must go alone, tell a friend or family member when and where you are meeting someone
  • Keep transactions to daylight hours
  • Don’t invite a stranger into your home. It allows them access to the layout of your house, gives them information regarding alarm systems or dogs, and provides a chance to see any valuables you may have
  • Never tell your schedule to a stranger. They do not need to know when you will not be home
  • Don’t erase any e-mails, texts or voicemails between yourself and the seller or buyer
  • Keep things local. Never mail a cheque or wire money to sellers
  • Do not give out personal or banking information (social insurance number, back account number, etc.)

For more information on OPP Community Safe Trade Zones and tips from police when making online deals click here.

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