The Ankeny Police Department is offering up its parking lot as a safe place to conduct Craigslist transactions.
The department hopes the move will lessen the likelihood of falling prey to scams by buyers and sellers in online exchange sites.
The department says Ankeny residents and business owners can use the lot and it is monitored by security cameras 24 hours a day and is well-lit in the evenings.
“Moving the sale to the police department parking lot can also cut down on the exchange of counterfeit money and the possibility that the buyer is at a private residence to evaluate the area before committing a crime,” says Police Chief Gary Mikulec.
"That's a place I hadn't even thought about, but it makes sense, total sense to go to the ultimate public place that is safe," says Ankeny resident and Craigslist user Dawn Stohs.
Stohs knows the basic do's and don'ts of buying and selling online. For starters, she never does business when she's home alone and she makes sure all items are out in the garage or driveway.
"You're always leery of people coming to your house," she says.
Police are also offering some tips to those making transactions:
- take a picture of the vehicle and license plate of the person you’re conducting business with
- only accept cash or a cashier’s check
- do business during the week day so financial institutions can be contacted if there are issues with payment