As e-commerce continues to grow, public safety needs to be at the forefront of every transaction and face-to-face interaction.
Waxahachie Police Department Det. Dylan Snyder said while online shopping is convenient, caution should be practiced.
“Shopping online is more popular than ever right now, but there are red flags that you need to look out for when you are making online purchases,” Snyder said. “If they ask you to pay them in gift cards that would be an immediate red flag. If they are unwilling to meet you in a busy public place that would be an immediate red flag. If you included in your message that you wanted to meet at the police department, and they are unwilling to do so that would be a red flag.”
Snyder said shoppers need to look at a seller’s history before they make a purchase. If a seller on Facebook Marketplace doesn’t have any seller history or no personal Facebook profile attached to the listing, it could be a warning sign.
“If you make a purchase and it is a face-to-face exchange with the item my advice would be to do it in a busy public place,” Snyder said. “If you could do it, we do have safe exchange zones at the police department that are 24/7 recorded through our video system.”
Snyder doesn’t recommend doing any exchanges of items or money at a person’s home and to avoid doing any type of transaction during nighttime hours. It’s also recommended not to go to any exchange alone.
The safe exchange zone at the police department is not only for online purchases but is also for use by parents in child custody transfers. Having the exchange recorded can document the transfer and avoid potential problems.
Snyder said using the safe exchange zones is the best way to keep yourself safe when delivering or picking items from an online sale or in a custody situation.
People who have questions about the safe exchange zone or have been a victim of an online purchase exchange can contact the police department at 469-309-4400. The police department is located at 630 Farley St. in Waxahachie. The safe exchange zone at the department is comprised of two parking spaces on the right side in front of the building. Each space is designated by a sign.
List of safe exchange zones around the county
- Waxahachie Police Department – Located at 630 Farley St. in Waxahachie.
- Ellis County Sheriff’s Office – Located in the jail parking lot on East Madison Street in Waxahachie.
- Red Oak Police Department – Located in the parking lot at the police station, 547 N. Methodist St. in Red Oak.
- Ovilla Police Department – Located in the front parking lot at the police station, 105 S. Cockrell Hill Road in Ovilla.
- Ennis Police Department – There is no designated safe exchange zone, but people are welcome to use its front parking lot, which is monitored by cameras, 119 W. Brown St. in Ennis.
- Midlothian Police Department – The safe exchange zone is located at the police department, 1150 U.S. Highway 67 in Midlothian.
- Ferris Police Department – There is no safe exchange zone, but residents are welcome to use its parking lot, which is monitored by cameras, 111 Ewing Blvd. in Ferris.
- Mansfield Police Department – The safe exchange zone is two designated parking spaces in the public parking lot at the city of Mansfield Law Enforcement Center, 1601 Heritage Parkway in Mansfield.
- Maypearl Police Department – The safe exchange zone is in the parking lot next to the police station/city hall, 104 E. Second St. in Maypearl.