Online buy and sell websites are becoming a common "storefront" for many citizens' shopping experiences. However, this innovative and cost-saving social experience comes with many risks. In 2020, the Edmonton Police Service received 276 reports of buy and sell scams with a total financial loss of $356,801. Learn more about online frauds.
Buy and Sell Exchange Zones
The Edmonton Police Service, in partnership with TELUS, have launched several Buy and Sell Exchange Zones across the city. Designated areas in police station parking lots are now equipped with video cameras to record the exchange of online purchases. This initiative originally began in 2020 as a pilot project at the Southwest Division but due to its overall success, the project has been expanded to the following divisions:
The EPS is very conscious of public concerns on privacy, especially on the topic of public CCTV. Although these stalls are surveilled by video cameras, they are not being monitored 24/7. The only time officers would access these video streams would be in response to an event or incident that occurred at one of these sites, or in relation to an investigation coming from an exchange that occurred there.
“At TELUS, online privacy and security are paramount, and this initiative is just another way we’re helping to keep citizens in our communities safe when their online exchanges become face-to-face interactions,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, Chief Technology Officer at TELUS. “As a technology leader, we feel it’s our duty to support our community and leverage our world-leading emerging technologies to improve the lives of Edmontonians.”
If you do come to a police station to make an internet purchase exchange, do not put yourself under a false sense of security! Our stations are not open 24/7, our officers are not monitoring the parking lots, and we cannot guarantee that an officer would be able to respond if something goes awry. Always practice caution.
Online Purchase Safety Tips
- Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home. Suggest meeting during the day at a public location, ideally with video surveillance, such as one of the Buy and Sell Exchange Zones.
- Have someone come with you when you meet. If you cannot arrange for someone to accompany you, let friends or family know where you are going, what time you are meeting and all the details about who you are meeting, Let your contact know that everything is ok.
- Ask the buyer for photo ID. Take a photo of it for your reference.
- Buying or selling a vehicle? Offer to meet at an automotive garage where the vehicle’s quality can be assured, instead of offering a test drive.
Buying Safety Tips:
- Do not disclose to the seller how you will be paying if it's not necessary. If the seller is aware that you will be arriving with a large quantity of cash, it is an excellent opportunity for a personal robbery to take place.
- Obtain a bill of sale and verify the seller's identity through photo ID. Inform the seller that you want this before meeting, this will deter those selling illegitimate property from selling the property.
- Check the serial number on CPIC to determine if it is stolen.
- If you're purchasing a used bicycle, ask for the serial number and search it on CPIC and on Bike Index to see if it's been reported stolen. Download our brochure for more tips on how not to buy a stolen bicycle.
- Ask the seller why they are selling the property.
For buyers and sellers:
- Take screenshots of the advertisements, the advertisement ID number, the seller's contact information, and all communications.
- IMPORTANT: If you turn a blind eye to obvious clues that the property is stolen but buy it anyway, you can be found to be willfully blind to the fact that the property is stolen and you may be criminally charged.
- If you locate property being sold that you believe to be stolen, call police at 780-423-4567.
I found my stolen property for sale online:
If you find your stolen property being sold online:
- Take screenshots of the ad – ensure the ad # and any seller contact information is recorded
- Have your proof of ownership ready
- Contact police immediately at 780-423-4567 or come to a police station
NEVER contact the suspect or arrange to meet the suspect yourself. For your safety and proper investigative measures, please let police officers take care of this.