It happens several times a year: a man or woman calls Grapevine Police to report a theft, after trying to buy or sell something online.
Often times, the victim can look back and point to several warning signs that the transaction was doomed to fail. However, when someone is "in the moment" or spots a great deal, they can act first and rationalize later. We do not fault victims of theft, but we do want people to have the tools to make online purchases as safely as possible.
Consumers are urged not to give banking or credit information to people they do not know. If a person wants to sell an item or items online, then meet in person for the exchange, both parties are encouraged to meet in a safe location. Grapevine Police offers an E-Commerce Exchange Zone in the parking lot outside the Municipal Court Building, located at 1027 Ira E. Woods in Grapevine, Texas. Two parking spaces are marked with an E-Commerce sign. The spaces have surveillance cameras as an added layer of protection, and serve as a neutral meeting location for buyers and sellers.
Anyone arranging a meet with a buyer or seller they met online should be suspicious of someone who changes the agreed upon location. This is typically a sign that something is wrong, or the other person has something to hide. Consumers should only ever agree to meet a buyer or seller in a public place with plenty of people around, and avoid side streets or places that are not well lit.
Buyers and sellers are also encouraged to take along a friend, so they are not alone and more of a target. Transactions are best done during daylight hours, where thieves cannot hide or try to steal your goods. Most important of all - trust your instincts. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.