Law enforcement urges shoppers to be safe this holiday season

The holiday season is fast approaching and many individuals are searching for that special Christmas bargain. While shopping on Craigslist for that special bargain, individuals should be cautious, police say.

“Never meet someone you don’t know to purchase an item,” said Headland Police Chief Mark Jones. “Too many individuals agree to meet someone they don’t know in a location they are not familiar with, to purchase an item off Craigslist. This can be extremely dangerous, if not deadly. Always pick a safe and monitored location to buy or sell an item.”

The Headland Police Department offers a Safe Exchange Location.

“This program offers everyone a safe location to buy or sell items,” Jones said. “The area is under video surveillance 24-hours a day. By utilizing a Safe Exchange location individuals are protecting themselves from being a victim of rape, robbery or worse. This program is open to everyone, not just Headland residents.”

According to Jones, the holiday season is the time of year where crimes increase.

“This time of year, we have individuals of all ages out trying to scam anyone and everyone out of their hard earned money,” Jones said. “When using Craigslist to search for an item, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

The Dothan Police Department also offers a Safe Exchange Location.

“We also urge anyone purchasing or selling items to utilize our Safe Exchange location,” said Dothan Police Lt. Lynn Watkins. “This helps to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

Watkins also reminds everyone to never wire money or pre-pay for an item being purchased on Craigslist.

“If someone states they must receive a certain amount before shipping an item, don’t purchase it,” Watkins said. “When someone states they need a certain amount of money before an item can be sent or delivered, it is usually a scam. If someone wants you to purchase an item by purchasing a pre-paid Green Dot card, don’t. This is also a scam. It is always best to purchase items from someone you know. Being cautious and safe can help you from becoming a victim of a crime.”