Online shopping gets pretty popular this time of year, and Columbia County’s Sheriff’s Office marked four safe deal zones for e-commerce trades.
It all starts at the computer, but when you make that move to get in your car and meet the buyer or seller face-to-face, it’s important to get a little more information about where you’re going to meet to make sure that you’re safe.
Kim Dresser frequently sells on marketplace. She say, “I’m selling a dress online and meeting someone tomorrow. I’ll pick a place that I know is very, you know, like there is a lot of traffic coming in and people are out front.”
Finding a middle ground can be hard for buyers and sellers doing face-to-face transactions from online purchases, but Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is making it just a little easier and a little safer.
Sgt. Josh Bogdanow with Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, says, “four places that we have designated in Columbia County is the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office which is located in Appling. You can come to the Substation which is in Evans right off of Ronald Reagan Dr., Grovetown Department of Public Safety, which is in Grovetown city limits. Or the Harlem Department of Public Safety, which is in Harlem, Georgia.”
Officers don’t oversee the transaction, but Sgt. Bogdanow says the locations chosen make it less likely for deception.
“A lot of people like the aspect and the safety aspect of having law enforcement presence and or close by,” says Sgt. Bogdanow. “It also deters people who are trying to deceive buys and/or sellers about their product.”
Scams happen every so often, but Sgt. Bogdanow says there are certain indicators to stop yourself from falling into the trap.
He says, “getting the persons name. Maybe striking up a casual conversation of who you are and what you do. Why you’re wanting to purchase this item and or sell the item.”
Scams are transactional. Not only is it recommended as a buyer to see your item, look for the serial number and make sure it’s functional. As a seller, inspect the cash given to you, if it’s a check, do the transaction through the bank.
“I’m usually letting them know how far out I am and then what kind of vehicle I’m in, and I ask them what kind of vehicle they’re in, and you know, an approximate time. And then I let them know I’m there and then I don’t get out of my car until I see their vehicle as well,” says Dresser.
If you notice any suspicious activity or believe that you’re involved in a scam, it is advised to contact your local law enforcement.