Ocala Police open up safe place for E-commerce exchanges

A few taps on the keyboard and you make a deal online, ready to meet in person.

But, the guy on the other end of your screen could be a real creeper and you wouldn’t truly know it.

Fran Allevato told Fox 35’s David Williams she has sold quite a few things online.

“It also is very scary because you don’t’ know who you’re actually going to meet," she said.

That’s why Allevato never goes alone whenever she sells stuff online.

She is thinking about more business in the online marketplace, but that fear of the unknown is real.

“Anybody could be commenting to it,” Allevato said. “It could be a sex offender. It could be a murderer.”

We’ve all heard stories of people being hurt or even killed after responding to bogus online sales ads.

Allevato told Fox 35 about a recent scary experience.

“I did not feel comfortable with the way he was speaking to me,” She said. “It didn’t sound like he was interested in purchasing, but more so interested in robbing me or harming me.”

To help try to protect you, Ocala Police recently created a few spots in a new E-Commerce exchange zone in the parking lot of its headquarters.

It is a safe place to make transactions in person and give you peace of mind.

Sergeant Cynthia Barnes is a spokeswoman for the Ocala Police Department.

She says, “When you’re meeting with strangers, you don’t know who you’re meeting with and that can turn out to be something very dangerous.”

A surveillance cameras monitor the E-Commerce zone outside the Ocala Police Department.

Sgt. Barnes said a lot of eyes are on the new E-Commerce spots.

Plus, she says you’ve got the eyes and cellphones of people walking up and down the street.

Sgt. Barnes said, “I’m hoping that it does save lives. So, we’re hoping to reduce… If we can minimize the crime, we can’t eliminate it. We do want to minimize it.”

About the new E-Commerce exchange zone, Allavato said, “Now that I know about this, yeah, 100 percent I’ll be here every single time.”