Sheriff's Office sets up secure 'meeting place' for online transactions
By JOY CRIST
Dare County Sheriff’s Office has just established a safe and secure
“meeting place” for residents who are conducting transactions with
individuals they have met online.
the rise of commonplace sales via online platforms -- such as eBay,
Craigslist and Facebook-based yard sales -- more and more people are
meeting virtual strangers to complete a purchase, and this new central
meeting spot gives folks an option to ensure the transaction is safe
and out in the open, from start to finish.
online selling process] has become more of a person-to-person process
than a person-to-company process,” says Capt. Kevin Duprey of the Dare
County Sheriff’s Office, “and sometimes people may not feel comfortable
with having someone come to their home to get an item. This gives you a
idea originated with Dorothy Toolan, Dare County's public information
officer, who had heard of a similar set-up in the community of Apex,
N.C. She went to the sheriff with the proposal, who, in turn, decided
it was a great idea and established the site.
exchange location is at the Dare County Justice Center in front of the
courthouse in Manteo, and two parking spaces bordered by signs provided
by the Dare County Public Information Office mark the spot. The area is
under video surveillance -- as indicated by the signs -- ensuring that
if anything does go awry, the incident will be captured.
the new meeting place serves as an alternate option for meeting someone
you don’t know, regardless of how you conduct an online transaction,
you should always use a big dose of common sense.
Dare County Sheriff’s office suggests that when completing purchases,
you should take someone with you, do the exchange in daylight hours,
and note things such as vehicle description and tags just in case
something happens. The video surveillance is present at the site,
so use it to your advantage and have the persons exit their vehicle so
the camera system picks them up, just in case identifying someone
becomes necessary down the road.
can rest assured that the new meeting point wasn’t established because
of an ongoing problem with local online purchases, Duprey says, but
because the county wanted to get ahead of the game and proactively
curtail any issues before they had an opportunity to arise.
addition to the new meeting place, the sheriff’s office also issued a
reminder for visitors and locals alike to use caution as the weather
heats up, and vehicle and house break-ins potentially become more
prevalent -- simply because of an increase in area population.
easy for [potential thieves] to watch for people to leave their house
to go to the beach, and then note if they have locked the door or not,”
they haven’t locked the door behind them, a thief could then slip in
and steal a purse, wallet, or any valuable item that is left out in the
open – and the same rule applies to unlocked vehicles as well.
stay safe, all visitors and residents are encouraged to keep their
doors locked, and to keep valuables -- such as purses, wallets, cell
phones, and other items -- well out of sight.
safe and theft-free is always a priority, but as the summertime
population swells, it’s more important than ever for folks on the
island to take necessary precautions.
with communitywide reminders, and the addition of new safety features
like the Internet Purchase Exchange Location, visitors and locals alike
can look forward to a summer season that includes plenty of long
beach trips or binge shopping on eBay – without any unwanted surprises.