BUENA PARK, Calif. (KABC) --Many people have turned to websites like Craigslist to set up meetings with strangers to make purchases, but unfortunately, there are many scams out there.
To help people conduct legitimate deals in person, Buena Park set up a safe exchange zone.
"We're one of the first Orange County agencies to have an exchange zone," Sgt. Mike Lovchik with the Buena Park Police Department said.
Authorities hoped that two marked parking spots in front of the police department would deter criminals from targeting unsuspecting buyers and sellers.
The area was well-lit and surveillance cameras were installed.
"You got cameras here so there's someone watching," Peggy Strobel of Garden Grove said. "It's a great idea."
"You're not too sure who you're really dealing with. It's just sort of scary, so having a place like this that you can come to make an exchange, it's for everybody's best interest," Wayne King of Bellflower said.
Investigators said there has been an increase in online scams in the area.
"Situations where people were buying and selling goods, cars for example, someone will see an advertisement on the internet for a car and they'll meet in a parking lot and they end up buying a stolen car," Lovchik said.
Authorities said the cameras could help identify a suspect if a crime takes place, but they hoped the safe exchange zone would prevent a scam from happening in the first place.
"What we're hoping for is that when someone is conducting a transaction online they will suggest to meet at the police parking lot and if it is a scam, the scammer will say, 'I don't want to meet there at that parking lot," Lovchik explained.