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Posted on: November 26, 2019

Online Sales Transactions Safety Reminders

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The Marshalltown Police Department frequently receives complaints or concerns regarding Internet fraud schemes. In 2015, a horrific crime occurred in Longmont, Colorado involving a woman who responded to an online advertisement and was attacked by another woman with a knife. Unfortunately, criminal offenders all over the world view the Internet as a hunting ground for victims. Violent offenders can also utilize the Internet to target unsuspecting victims.

In an effort to protect community members from these types of crimes, the Marshalltown Police Department (located at 909 South 2nd Street) has designated the public lobby, and the parking in front of the building, as safe zones for the completion of online sales transactions. Police department staff will not be assigned to monitor transactions nor will they require the participants in any transaction to notify the police department in advance. Police department personnel will not mediate civil disputes or assist with the collection of debts associated with these transactions. The Marshalltown Police Department is simply providing a safe space for the transactions to occur. The public lobby at the police department may not be used for any transactions involving firearms or any prohibited contraband, goods or services. People wishing to use the police department lobby for after-hours transactions may use the phone located in the police lobby to contact the 911 Communication Center should they need help or assistance while visiting the police department.

The following online transaction safety tips were published via CNN.com in 2015. These tips are excellent reminders for anyone participating in online transactions or responding to online advertisements.

1. Always meet in a public place.
2. Tell someone about the transaction and meeting details.
3. Never meet at your home or a private residence.
4. Always meet during the day.
5. If it is a high priced transaction, conduct this business at a bank so a banking professional can confirm funds have been delivered successfully.
6. Don’t pay in cash.
7. Disable caller ID when calling the buyer or seller on the telephone.
8. Don’t use a personal email address.
9. Keep a cellular telephone close during the transaction meeting.
10. Don’t reveal personal information.

The Marshalltown Police Department reminds community members to always use great caution when using the Internet or electronic means to conduct business of any kind. Be cautious when meeting with people you do not know. Never provide personal information about yourself under any circumstances. If you believe you have been the victim of an online fraud, or criminal scheme, report these crimes immediately to law enforcement.

For more information, please contact Police Chief Michael Tupper by calling 641.754.5771 or via email at mtupper@marshalltown-ia.gov.

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