Wellington OPP provide safe spot outside their front door to complete online transactions
April 2, 2021 By Canadian Press
Project Safe Trade provides labelled parking spots at OPP buildings to bring online transactions away from private residences or secluded parking lots to a public and more visible space.
Cst. Kirk MacDonald explained this started as a pilot project in Essex County and now includes 12 detachments around the province with more joining including Wellington County.
He said there have been some occurrences of fraud in these types of exchanges for both buyers and sellers.
“The whole idea of this is to deter fraudsters from showing up at a police parking lot,” MacDonald said.
“It’s obviously wide open here right in front of the police station. So certainly one would think it would deter criminals from following through with the transaction if they know they’re committing a criminal offence.”
Insp. Paul Richardson, Wellington OPP detachment commander, said this will be offered at all OPP locations in Wellington County which include Centre Wellington, Rockwood and Teviotdale.
Richardson clarified there was no particular catalyst to launching this program but it is another opportunity to partner with Safe Communities Wellington County, Crime Stoppers Guelph-Wellington (CSGW) and the police services board on a public safety initiative.
Sarah Bowers-Peter, CSGW coordinator, noted March is fraud prevention month making this launch fitting.
“Anything we can do that prevents a crime is a good thing for us,” Bowers-Peter commented.
OPP officers are not available to facilitate, witness or document a transaction. They will only respond if requested due to suspected fraudulent activity.
MacDonald said to stay safe during these transactions, the OPP recommends you keep to daylight hours, bring someone with you, use cash and to keep a record of all communication with the other party.
He acknowledged fraud can be a challenging crime to investigate as perpetrators are often overseas and online but prevention is key.
“We try to keep people in the know of the most up to date scams that are on the go,” MacDonald said with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre as his recommended resource.
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