Here’s what a handshake symbol on a parking space means

In Pembroke, Ontario, certain parking spots now display a new insignia.

The areas outside the Pembroke OPP station at 77 International Dr. that display the handshake symbol are designed to serve as community safety zones for online transactions.

If you purchase something online and need to meet someone in person to pay for it or pick it up, there are locations you may use to guarantee everyone’s safety, according to the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP.

According to an OPP news release, “Project Safe Trade aims to establish a ‘community safety zone’ at an OPP detachment parking lot to facilitate online property transactions.” “The idea behind establishing a ‘community safety zone’ is to shift online transactions from private parking lots, homes, and other locations to public spaces.”

There is no need for appointments; the secure trading locations will be open at all times.

“The busy holiday season is approaching, making this the perfect time for the local launch of Project Safe Trade.” According to Steph Neufeld, commander of the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP detachment, “online property transactions are on the rise, and the UOV OPP is pleased to be initiating a community safety initiative aimed at decreasing offences related to online marketplace transactions.” “Project Safe Trade and other collaborative methods can lessen victimization and harm in our communities.”

Const. Mike Mahon told CTV News that the areas also offer a means of assisting in preventing the potential of becoming a victim of fraud.

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” goes the saying. Particularly if you’re asking that they meet here and they’re really hesitant, then you should be concerned,” he stated.

According to the OPP, police will not function as witnesses, mediators, or providers of documents in relation to transactions. However, if an officer is called, they will come and only get involved if the transaction turns into a criminal case.

There are alternative ways to keep secure while meeting strangers online for financial transactions if you decide not to use the places.

Meet in a busy public space
Bring a trusted friend or family member as a witness
Conduct transactions during daylight hours
Do not erase emails, texts or voicemails between yourself and the buyer/seller
Technology analyst Carmi Levy says the season has everyone rushing around, but it’s important to slow down and do a bit of homework.

“Do your due diligence on the person that claims to be selling it. Look into their background, see what other things they’ve sold, look for information on how other buyers have dealt with them in the past,” Levy said.

“Insist on seeing the actual device that you’re buying before you hand over any money. Insist that they power it on. Insist that you make sure it works before you pay for it.”

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