August 1, 2018

Important Safety Information for Buying and Selling Internet-Advertised Items; Montgomery County Police Offers Exchange Zones

Do you take advantage of internet-based marketplaces? When items purchased online are exchanged in person, it is important that it is done in a public and safe location. The Montgomery County Police Department has designated “Exchange Zones” for residents to complete transactions at each of its six police district-station parking lots and lobbies.

Those locations are:
This Exchange Zone program is implemented to help reduce and deter crimes such as theft, robbery, and fraud. If the seller or buyer refuses to conduct the transaction at a police station, take that as a red flag warning and avoid doing business with that individual.

Here are some safety tips to help you when planning a personal exchange with an unknown person:
  • Plan to meet during daylight hours
  • Never invite strangers to your home, or agree to meet at a stranger’s home
  • Always meet the buyer or seller at an exchange zone that is well-populated, well-lit, and preferably at a designated police exchange zone
  • Let friends or family know of your intention to meet to conduct a transaction and take someone with you
  • Inform the buyer or seller that you will not be alone
  • Bring a cell phone along in case of an emergency
  • Never give out any personal or financial information
Police personnel recommend that transactions are made on their premises, but they cannot act as official witnesses to the transaction, give legal advice about the transaction, and will not mediate or settle disputes related to transactions. Police are not trained, nor authorized, to validate the legitimacy of any transaction, item for sale, the integrity of any product or goods, or the legality of a sale.