Online marketplaces for second-hand items have become increasingly popular in recent years, with websites like eBay taking on competition from Facebook Marketplace and Poshmark.
But an important caveat of shopping in online marketplaces, especially if you’re buying locally, is the need for a meeting between buyer and seller to exchange money and goods.
It’s a part of the online shopping experience that turns many people off: walking into a random person’s house can be a daunting and scary prospect.
The Boise Police Department offers a way to allay those fears. Earlier this week, the department announced a new internet shopping exchange location at City Hall West.
The redemption location will be in front of the Boise Police Department offices at 333 N. Mark Stall Place.
“Exchanging items at your home involves risks that we don’t want you to have to take,” Boise Police Crime Prevention Supervisor Ed Fritze said in a news release. “This area in our department’s front parking lot is a better option, and we hope the community will use it.”
The meeting point is in the northeast section of the West Town Hall parking lot and is visible from the police department. It’s also within sight of the parking lot entrance, Boise police spokesperson Haley Williams told the Idaho Statesman, which means police cars coming and going will be able to keep a eye on all exchanges.
“Our patrollers work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are based at the West Town Hall. The number of agents in the building depends on the time of day and call load,” Williams said. “There are more officers around during the day than at night. It is not recommended for anyone to trade online at any place overnight.
The Meridian Police Department offers a similar exchange location in the department’s parking lot at 1401 E. Watertower St.
Crime prevention tips for selling online
The Boise Police Department has a list of tips to help make buying and selling online safer:
Check the value of an item before you meet. If negotiations are not finalized or progressing, leave immediately.
Always insist on meeting in a busy place during daylight hours.
Avoid meeting in an isolated place or inviting a stranger to your home.
Be very careful when buying or selling a high value item.
Bring only the amount of money you need to purchase the item, or pick up the item and deliver the money later.
Always tell someone where you will meet for the exchange or bring someone with you.
Trust your instincts. If something goes wrong, avoid the buyer or the seller.
Don’t forget to bring a phone so you can call for help.