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University Police open lobby for online transactions

By Abby Schlueter

As selling items online becomes more and more commonplace, people are in need of a safe place to exchange items and payments. The University of Illinois Police Department has come up with one solution for this holiday season.

UIPD has decided to open it's lobby for the use of those who need to meet strangers and want a public place to do so. Police say the lobby is ideal because it is open 24/7 and has security cameras. Though, meeting in a safe location shouldn't be the only step that you take to protect yourself.

If you are selling items online through sites like Facebook and Craigslist, police caution you to look into the buyer's profile to make sure they look legitimate. Many fake profiles exist that try to trick you with sad backstories or made-up colleges and friends.

On campus, there have been several past incidents where students that sell items, like laptops, have been tricked into releasing the item without getting payment beforehand. The buyers then make a getaway and the seller is powerless to stop them. This was the case for a student last November who arranged a meeting outside of a campus library. Police also say that even the suggestion of meeting in a place like a police station could deter those who are trying to scam you.

Anyone is able to use the UIPD lobby for this purpose though the department asks that you arrive a few minutes early to inform front desk staff what you are doing.

There are also safe-exchange locations elsewhere near campus. On the Champaign side, students and community members can use the designated spaces in the Champaign Police parking lot. These spaces have lights nearby as well as security cameras so they are a good option for those who can't make it to Urbana.

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