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Long Island law enforcement offers safe locations to meet for sales arranged through social media

Long Island offers safe zones to meet for sales arranged online
Long Island offers safe zones to meet for sales arranged online 02:12

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. -- There's no disputing that bargains can be found online, where private individuals offer items at great prices, but the deals can also be dangerous.

Hailey Hanyo, 19, is a Suffolk community college student who searches for bargains online.

"I can't afford to buy a new car. I'm buying used. I'm buying off of places like Facebook Marketplace," she said.

She is wary of meeting up with strangers for the eventual handoff. Her mind and others are on NYPD officer Adeed Fayaz, who was shot this weekend while meeting someone to buy a car. Fayaz later died from his injuries.

READ MORE: NYPD Officer Adeed Fayaz dies from injuries sustained in weekend shooting

"It's very sad and tragic, what happened to that New York City police officer ... The message is that no one is safe," Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. said.

In wake of the tragedy, Toulon is reminding residents of the newly created safe zones in Riverhead and Yaphank near court, police and sheriff property where online buyers and sellers can meet. Guard booths, lights and cameras are at the ready.

"If someone needed to yell or scream, or a deputy just saw something that looked a little unusual, they can react," Toulon said.

"You never know who you're dealing with," one person said.

"You're opening yourself to the possibility of being robbed," another person said.

Law enforcement on Long Island shared statistics which report an uptick in robberies and assaults related to buyers picking up goods.

In Nassau County online marketers are encouraged to go police precinct parking lots, where they can more safely complete their transactions.

"I feel it should be done more openly and in a public area," one person said.

"You do have to be very careful. The internet is a scary place," another person said.

The sheriff says:

  • Don't meet alone,
  • Go to a well-lit area,
  • Never meet at your home,
  • Share your plan,
  • And use secured payment like PayPal instead of cash, especially when vehicles and jewelry are involved.

"If a person doesn't want to meet in a safe location, maybe it's something you shouldn't do," Toulon said.

The safe sites are open and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Toulon strongly recommends making all transactions during daylight hours.

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