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Champaign Police have made their parking lot a “safe space” for online purchase exchanges

If you’ve ever bought or sold something on Craigslist or some other online buying/selling site, you know that there’s always a little apprehension about the actual exchange of goods. Are you going to be showing up at the door of a serial killer? Or maybe bringing one to your door? Okay, that might be catastrophizing just a bit. Most people doing business on these sites are legit. However, should you have safety concerns, the Champaign Police Department is making an effort to help out. 

They have created an “Internet Purchase Exchange Location” that includes “two, well-lit parking spots, marked by signs, on the north end of the police station and will be under 24-hour video surveillance.”

They also offer tips for safe internet exchange transactions:

  • Insist on meeting in a public area like the CPD Internet Purchase Exchange Location
  • If someone is not willing to meet at the police department for the transaction, it is probably not legitimate
  • Only engage in transactions with local buyer/sellers
  • Inform a friend or family member of the transaction details and try not to go to an exchange alone
  • Do not go into someone else’s house, nor allow them into yours
  • Only use cash or money orders to complete transactions
  • Trust your instincts. If it sounds like a scam, it probably is. If you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself

It should be noted that while these are generally helpful reminders, and having this CPD parking lot option is a good option to have, it’s not necessarily always going to be the most ideal or accessible option. My last Craiglist purchase was a giant and quite heavy stone outdoor table and six accompanying chairs, and picking it up at that person’s residence was the most logical option. Transportation can also be an issue for some on either end of the transaction. I mean, just use common sense and as stated above, trust your instincts.

Also, an important note from the CPD: Champaign Police Department personnel will not participate in exchanges or business proceedings. Although the location is under 24/7 surveillance, the area is not staffed or actively monitored by officers. Police will reference the video should there be any reports of wrongdoing. The sale, possession or purchase of firearms will not be permitted at the exchange location. The Champaign Police Department will not assume liability regarding the quality or authenticity of items involved in any transaction on its premises.

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