City creates “Safe Trade Zone” for Internet transactions

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ALABASTER, Ala. (WIAT) — There’s now a safe place to conduct transactions made on trading websites, like Craigslist.

“There’s a lot of people that will try to scam you,” said Kyle Daniels, who frequents Craigslist to buy and sell computer parts. “They’ve tried, but I’m a little smarter than that.”

Daniels said he tries to get to know the people with whom he does business, before completing the transaction. He said it’s a red flag when someone he’s communicating with take their time responding, or try to manipulate a situation “for them to come out on top.”

Emily Sanchez said that’s exactly what happened to her, when she tried to buy a car on Craigslist. She said she was nearly ripped off.

“I would tell the (seller) … to meet somewhere, but he would put excuses,” Sanchez said.

She said she backed out of the sale after the seller tried to bait-and-switch her with photos of a car different from the one she’d wanted to buy.

George Henry, Alabaster’s City Manager, said he’s heard stories like Sanchez’, and others, in which those looking to make a sale end up as victims of scam or violence.

Last week, the City of Alabaster created its first “Safe Trade Zone,” to avoid these dangerous or deceitful situations.

“The intent of this is to provide people an opportunity to do their trade that they would have conducted otherwise, maybe somewhere not as public,” Henry said.

The trade zone is behind the city’s old municipal complex, across from the Alabaster Police Department. It’s also equipped with multiple surveillance cameras, which record 24 hours a day (though, Henry said they are not constantly monitored).

“That makes something feel much safer, to actually do a deal with someone that way,” Sanchez said, adding that she would still bring a male friend or her father if she were to do another transaction on Craigslist.

“I definitely would use that,” Daniels said.

Copyright 2016 WIAT 42 News

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