Sales between private individuals have become common due to the popularity of e-commerce websites. While the vast majority of these exchanges are legitimate and safe, some people have used online exchange websites and mobile apps to victimize buyers or sellers.
To provide a safer atmosphere for these exchanges, the Fort Worth Police Department encourages buyers and sellers to meet in public locations, including selected police facilities. Try to schedule the exchange at one of these facilities during business hours:
Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex, 505 W. Felix. The lobby is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
South Division, 3128 W. Bolt St. The lobby is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
North Division, 4651 N. Main St. The lobby is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
East Division, 1100 Nashville Ave. The lobby is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
If you choose to meet at a police station, keep in mind that city employees are generally prohibited from engaging or interfering with private business transactions. Police officers and city employees will not participate in or help the transaction by running serial numbers to determine whether a particular item has been reported stolen or missing, nor will officers or city employees be available to witness the sale or exchange of goods.
No gun sales are permitted in these areas.
The FWPD offers these tips for making e-commerce exchanges with strangers:
- Never meet anyone at your home or their home.
- Always meet in a public place such as a restaurant or shopping center or anywhere where there is a high volume of pedestrian or vehicle traffic. Never meet in out-of-the-way locations. The presence of other people provides an additional measure of safety.
- Never conduct business inside a vehicle.
- Avoid meeting at night. Choose a location that is well lit.
- Regardless of the location and time you are meeting a prospective buyer or seller, always take a family member or friend to observe and witness the transaction.
- Be aware that some criminals use financial or personal information such as credit cards or driver’s license information to engage in identity theft and other financial crimes.
- Be careful when sharing personal information. Never list your home address, phone number or anything else that could be used to identify you.
- If a dispute arises when buying or selling goods or services, remember to exercise your right to terminate the transaction.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Conduct research on both the product you are buying and the person you’re dealing with.
- Be wary of people who solicit your business without your permission.
- Don’t allow the other party to change the location once you arrive.