How to Trade
Even if you can't meet at a police station, there are still steps to reduce the risk of fraud and harm.
Buying and Selling Small Items
Always buy and sell small items at the local police station. Read more here on tips for meeting at your local SafeTrade Station.
Buying and Selling Large Items
Sometimes it’s impractical to meet at a police station for a transaction. Can’t haul that sofa to the police department. Or a used car that isn’t running. In those cases:
- Meet at a police station where you can exchange and photocopy each others’ identification papers, such as a driver’s license. Do NOT carry cash to this location.
- Photocopy the license or identification paper, or use your phone to photograph it.
- Email the ID information to a friend, or to someone trusted (not to yourself).
- If you’re selling at home, or going to someone’s home, never be outnumbered. If you’re at home, make sure you have two or three people there --- and tell the person who is coming that you will have others with you. There’s some safety in numbers.
- At home or an apartment, NEVER let someone go anywhere unaccompanied. Not even to the bathroom. Always make sure they are escorted.
- Never let more than one group come to your home at one time to buy or sell.
Renting an Apartment or House
- Check the identity of the person who claims to be renting the apartment or house. Take a photocopy or a photograph of his / her identification papers, such as a driver’s license or real estate agent license. A business card is NOT acceptable identification; they’re too easy to fake. Email the photo to a friend or family member.
- Make sure the “landlord” or agent is permitted to rent the property. (If it’s a rip-off, he / she will probably not want to let you take a photo of his / her identification paperwork.)
- Never pay cash. If a cash deposit is required, it’s probably a rip-off. You’re better off waiting.
NOTE: These tips are not foolproof. Things can go wrong. But meeting at the police station, or taking the identification precautions outlined above, are great steps to make sure yours is a SafeTrade.