Two designated parking spaces have been made available in the public parking lot of the Gaithersburg Police Station to serve as Internet Purchase Exchange Locations. Residents may conduct any type of legitimate buyer/seller transactions from internet purchases or when conducting any other in-person transactions.
The parking spaces are available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. 7 days a week, and are clearly marked with signage, donated by OfferUp. The spaces are under camera surveillance. The Gaithersburg Police Station lobby is also available for such exchanges and is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
While websites like Craigslist, eBay, OfferUp and many others are used frequently and are credible, their popularity makes them vulnerable to criminal activity from online predators. The Gaithersburg Police Department has investigated incidents involving meetings where transaction encounters have led to physical altercations. The Internet Purchase Exchange Locations provide an additional level of safety and security.
The Gaithersburg Police Department may not act in any capacity as an official witness to or broker for any transaction. The Internet Purchase Exchange Location has been established only to provide a safe environment for the exchange of merchandise between private parties. The goal of this program is to help reduce victimization and prevent illegal transactions. This offer does not extend to transactions involving the sale of any contraband, stolen property, gun sales, or the sale of illegal items or prohibited services.
The Gaithersburg Police Department offers the following safety tips for buyer and sellers:
- Be suspicious of a buyer or seller who changes the agreed upon location.
- Always meet the buyer or seller in a public place that is well populated.
- Avoid meeting on side streets or places that are not well lit.
- Always take someone with you and inform the buyer/seller that you will not be alone.
- Strongly consider conducting the transaction in the Gaithersburg Police Department lobby or the IPEL parking spaces.
- Trust your instincts – if it sounds like a scam, it probably is.
- Complete the transaction during daylight hours