HIGH POINT, NC -- With more and more people shopping online, especially during the holiday season, police say criminals have more opportunities to take advantage of innocent people.
Millions of people will buy holiday gifts this online.
But the trouble with sites like Craigslist, eBay and Facebook is you never really know who you're dealing with.
According to Lt. Curtis Cheeks with the High Point Police Department, officers have responded to 30 crime calls tied to e-commerce exchanges this year including larceny, robbery, and fraud.
Cheeks said in most of those cases, choosing a different location to meet would have made a difference.
“We like to think that it's common knowledge that people shouldn't drive down a dead end street or pull behind a vacant house but we are still finding there are some cases where those are at the meeting places that people are agreeing to and unfortunately they are becoming victims when they go to those locations,” said Cheeks.
In an effort to keep everyone safe, police in High Point want to remind people that they have established a safe spot for online transactions in its parking lot located on Leonard Avenue.
The area consists of two marked parking spots that are monitored by surveillance cameras 24 hours a day.
Police say it's a neutral spot where buyers and sellers can meet up and both parties can ensure their safety.
“Don't be blinded by the deal. If people won't meet you here, that's probably the biggest measuring stick,” said Cheeks. “If they won't meet you here at the police department where they know police officers are around and the lot is under video surveillance, that's probably not the deal you should be doing.”
High Point isn’t the only police department that has established an internet purchase safe exchange location.
If you do plan to complete a transaction with someone you met on the internet, police say you should never go alone.
Always tell a family member or a friend where you're going and when you'll be back.
Finally, make sure you keep your cell phone on you the whole time to call for help in case anything happens.