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Safe Exchange Place

Internet services such as Craigslist are an increasingly quick and convenient way to buy and sell items. However, we often hear stories of people who have been victimized after setting up a sale through the website. The item being sold could be fake or broken, the cash being used could be counterfeit, or the check written could be bogus. There have been real estate scams offering fictional rentals, foreign scams offering more than your selling price, fake job scams, and fake ticket scams. Assaults, robberies, and murders have also occurred during these transactions.

The Westfield Police Department urges its residents to be cautious when buying and selling on Craigslist or similar sites. Trust your instincts and always meet in a public place. Since 2015, the Westfield Police Department has offered a “Safe Place” at the Public Safety building, located at 17535 Dartown Rd, for transactions. The lobby is open during business hours, Monday – Friday 7:30 am – 4:00 pm and our front foyer is open 24/7. If you do become a victim of a crime, report it to the police immediately via 911 or dispatch at 317-773-1300. Also, report all suspected fraudulent Craigslist ads by flagging the post as prohibited or at craigslist.org/contact.

With this in mind, the Westfield Police Department would like to offer the following safety tips and reminders to help avoid scams and protect yourself when using Craigslist. Some of these are directly from the “Craigslist Best Practices” off Craigslist.com.

  • Always deal locally with the person so you can meet them in person.
    • Many scams begin with a “seller,” “landlord,” or “employer” who is based out of state or out of the country and is unable to deal with you directly. • Never rent housing without seeing it first; never purchase expensive items sight-unseen.
  • Never submit to a credit check or background check for a job or house listed on Craigslist until you have met the interviewer or landlord in person. • Avoid jobs that ask you to send them money. This is always a scam.
  • Never give out your financial information (PayPal, bank account, etc.) or social security number.
  • Never wire funds via Western Union, Money Gram or any other wire service.
  • Know that fake cashier’s checks and money orders are common. Banks will cash them and then hold you responsible for the money.
  • Never accept one that is for more money and then give back “change”! This is a common scam!
  • Craigslist does not provide “buyer protection” or “seller certification.”
    • Only a scammer will “guarantee” your transaction.
  • Be especially careful when buying/selling high-value items.
  • Do your research!
    • Know about the item or vehicle you’re buying, how to tell if it is fake, or if it’s priced correctly.
    • Check whether the pictures included are downloaded from the Internet. Copy the link to the image and search it in Google Images.
    • Make sure the landlord really owns the house. If it’s an apartment or condo, you can call the related association or property management company. If it’s a home, you can search property records for the area.
  • If you are buying tickets, know what your ticket should look like. Ask for proof of purchase.
    • If you’re buying tickets through the mail, don’t pay the entire amount up front. Offer to pay half up front, half when received. Put everything in writing, including the seller’s information. Ask that the tickets are sent with a tracking number.
  • Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services. Many scammers will use a spoof email that mimics a legitimate site and escrow account but is really fake.
    • If you are buying a high-priced item where an escrow service is suggested, pick it yourself. Never allow the seller to pick and never do business with a company you’ve never heard of.
  • Be certain you are on the authentic Craigslist site. Spoof sites have been created that look exactly like Craigslist but are only designed to take your money. The official website is http://www.craigslist.org/; anything other than that is not real.
  • Insist on a public meeting place, like a restaurant or the Public Safety Building.
  • Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home. If you must meet at your residence, do not let them inside and do not be alone to meet them – invite a friend, relative, or neighbor over to assist.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re going to meet someone you contacted through Craigslist and take someone with you – Never meet them alone!
  • Take your cellphone along with you.

Here are some additional resources regarding scams on Craigslist:

http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams

http://www.moneycrashers.com/types-common-craigslist-scams/

http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Scams-on-Craigslist

These websites have general internet safety information, including how to avoid scams:

http://www.onguardonline.gov/

http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety

Contact Us

Joel Rush
Joel D. Rush,
Chief of Police
  • Phone: (317) 804-3200
  • Fax: (317) 804-3210
  • Staff Directory
  • Office Hours:
    7:30am-4:00pm, Mon-Fri
    Last Wednesday of every month, opens at 9 AM

    Dispatch (317) 773-1300

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Make sure your online shopping is secure this holiday season and keep in mind these safety tips for package deliveries! wp.me/p3WIAG-GKX ... See moreSee less

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Westfield Police Department - Indiana

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7 days ago

Westfield Police Department - Indiana

Hamilton County Traffic Safety Partnership Plans Increased Traffic Enforcement through Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans will travel our nation's highways this Thanksgiving holiday to visit family and friends. With more vehicles on the road, the chances of being involved in a crash increase greatly.

The Hamilton County Traffic Safety Partnership, a consortium of local law enforcement agencies, is joining more than 230 local law-enforcement agencies across the state to spot violations to Indiana's seat belt and impaired driving laws. From November 10 through December 3, expect to see an increase in random patrols, saturation patrols and checkpoints as officers work diligently to help motorists arrive safely at their destinations. This overtime enforcement is supported with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) funds administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

'Why are we advertising this enforcement blitz? To give drivers and their passengers fair warning and to make our roads as safe as possible,' said Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen. 'Our officers live in the communities we serve and will be thankful this holiday if impaired-driving and unbuckled deaths never strike again.'

It's the law
In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. In Indiana, drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to 1 year.
Indiana has a primary seat-belt law, meaning that police officers may ticket unrestrained drivers or passengers, even if no other traffic violation has taken place. In addition, all passengers under age 8 must be in an approved car seat or booster seat.

For more information about impaired driving visit on.IN.gov/drivesoberand for more information about seat belts visit on.IN.gov/buckleup.

Seat belt tips
The ICJI and Purdue University Center for Road Safety estimate that about 93 percent of Hoosiers buckle up. The small number of drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts made up more than half of Indiana's fatal crashes in 2016. Below are tips for proper seat-belt use:
• Secure the lap belt across your hips and pelvis, below your stomach.
• Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and rib cage, away from your neck.
• Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.
• If your seat belt doesn't fit you, or you have an older car with lap belts only, ask your dealer or vehicle manufacturer about seat-belt adjusters, extenders or retrofits.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading and increasing cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Below are tips for properly selecting, installing and using child safety seats:
• Choose the right car seat for a child's height and weight at www.safercar.gov/therightseat.
• Use a rear-facing infant or convertible seat until a child reaches the seat's upper height or weight limit. Rear-facing harness straps should originate at or below the child's shoulders. And never install a rear-facing seat in front of an active air bag.
• Once a child outgrows a rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready for a forward-facing car seat with harness. Always use the tether strap when installing a front-facing car seat. Front-facing harness straps should originate at or above the child's shoulders.
• Tightly secure car seats using either the seat belt or the lower anchors, but not both, and that they are threaded through the correct path. Make sure the straps are snug and free of twists, and that the car seat doesn't move more than 1 inch.
• Buckling your child correctly is just as important as installing the seat correctly. Seat belts and harness straps should be snug and free of twists. If you can pinch harness straps between your fingers, the harness is not tight enough.
• To receive timely recall information, register your car seat with the manufacturer or using the form at www.nhtsa.gov/document/car-seat-registration-form.

Sober driving tips
Crashes involving at least one alcohol-impaired driver resulted in 211 Hoosier deaths and nearly 2,100 injuries during 2016. And the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the deadliest times of year.
With all of today's options for getting home safely, there's no excuse for getting behind the wheel impaired as it endangers you and everyone else around you. Law enforcement recommends these safe alternatives to impaired driving:
• Designate, or be, a sober driver.
• Use public transportation.
• Call a cab or a ridesharing service.
• Download the SaferRide mobile app on the Android Play Store or the Apple iTunes Store. This simple app only has three options: call a taxi, call a friend, and identify your location for pickup.
• Celebrate at home or a place where you can stay until sober.
• Throwing a party? Offer non-alcoholic beverages and plenty of food.
• Never provide alcohol to minors.
• Ask young drivers about their plans.
• Friend or family member about to drive? Take the keys and make alternate arrangements.
Impaired driving is three times more common at night than during the day. If you see an impaired driver, turn off the road away from the vehicle and call 911. Signs of impaired driving include:
• Weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling the center line
• Driving at a very slow speed
• Braking erratically
• Making wide turns
• Stopping without cause
• Responding slowly to traffic signals
• Driving after dark with headlights off
• Almost striking an object or vehicle
• Driving on the wrong side of the road
• Turning abruptly or illegally
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