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'Project Safe Trade' comes to South Bruce

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The painted hands outside South Bruce OPP headquarters in Walkerton mark the spot of the latest ‘Project Safe Trade’ internet purchase exchange zone in southern Ontario.

“You don’t always know who is on the other edge of the computer when you are making these deals. So, it’s great to come to a safe space where you can ensure, you are as safe as possible,” said South Bruce OPP Detachment Commander Keegan Wilcox.

With the advent of Kijiji and online buy and sell groups, there are more products exchanged online than ever before. While most of those transactions turn out fine, some are fraudulent, and put the buyer or seller at risk during the exchange.

“For the sketchy individual who’s going to come and say they’re going to buy something, and then steal it and take off, they are parked outside the OPP station, and they’re not going to go far. It’s a small and inexpensive way to stop a lot of the quick fraud and quick scams that are happening,” explained Brockton Police Services Board Chair Carl Kuhnke.

Members of the South Bruce OPP unveil a place outside South Bruce OPP headquarters in Walkerton, Ont. where people can conduct online exchanges or trades on March 4, 2024. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

South Bruce OPP waited until March to unveil their latest ‘Project Safe Trade’ space because March is Fraud Prevention Month.

“Residents in South Bruce have already lost $103,000 to fraud this year, so this is another way we can implement changes to hopefully prevent some of the frauds from happening,” said Wilcox.

The most infamous case of a stranger sale gone wrong came in 2013 when Tim Bosma was murdered by Dellen Millard and Mark Smich while they test drove the pickup truck he was selling near Hamilton.

“These are strangers. Are they who they say they are? I don’t know, do you? Keep yourself safe when you’re making these transactions. That’s what this is all about,” said South Bruce OPP Community Services Officer Kevin Martin. 

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