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Internet Purchase Exchange Zones

Buying and selling goods online can be a handy way to pick up some extra cash—or snag a great deal. While the vast majority of these commercial interactions are legitimate, one still needs to exercise caution when meeting with strangers to conduct transactions. With this in mind, police departments throughout New Jersey are establishing “Internet Purchase Exchange Zones” for online transactions.

The zone, often an area in the municipal parking lot, should be well lit, marked by signage and under video surveillance. It is recommended that you consult with your municipal attorney when adopting an Internet Purchase Exchange Zone and consider the provisions of N.J.S.A. 59:4-6, entitled “Plan or Design Immunity”, whereby a Resolution or Ordinance designating the particular area should be based on a recommendation from the Police Chief or Municipal Engineer so that it meets the requirements of Plan or Design Immunity pursuant to the NJ Tort Claims Act.

Municipalities that establish “Internet Purchase Exchange Zones” should communicate the following to their community:

While the “Internet Purchase Exchange Zone” provides an area for buyers and sellers to meet, it is important to remember that people you meet online are strangers and can pose dangers. Not every buyer or seller you meet online is someone who is true with their intent. When making arrangements to complete online transactions face-to-face, residents should be reminded to:

•  Complete all transactions during daylight hours, if possible
•  Bring a cell phone in case of emergency
•  Notify friends or family about the details of the exchange beforehand
•  Never invite strangers to your home or agree to meet at a stranger’s home
•  Reconsider any transaction with an individual who refuses to meet at a designated zone

For more information about personal safety online, check out these resources: