Sioux Falls police remind of Safe Exchange Zone after private sale scams over weekend

Two people were scammed this weekend during private sales. In response, Sioux Falls Police are encouraging the use of their Safe Exchange Zone.

The Safe Exchange Zone is a set of parking spots at the Sioux Falls Police Department for property transfers, child custody exchanges or any use where an individual prefers to be in a safe, public place. It is available and recorded around-the-clock.
Contributed / Sioux Falls Police Department

SIOUX FALLS — The Sioux Falls Police Department is encouraging internet shoppers and sellers to utilize the agency’s Safe Exchange Zone after two separate scams were reported over the weekend.

During the regular briefing Monday, Jan. 30, police spokesman Sam Clemens described two instances of private party sales gone wrong, both resulting in loss to the victim.

In one scam, one victim was paid in fraudulent currency for jewelry in a sale that was discussed over Facebook. The victim didn’t realize the money was fake until after the buyer had left the area. In the other, a different victim was buying phones from a seller, but the phones were later discovered to be deactivated and inoperable.

Clemens said the biggest drawback in each case was the lack of cameras in the locations the sale took place, leaving police with difficulties in finding the scammers. He said private buyers and sellers should always be aware of the possibility of getting scammed.

“If you're going to purchase something like this, these private sales, take it with a grain of salt. If it seems too good to be true, it may be too good to be true,” Clemens said. “There are people that are looking to take advantage of others.”


For any private sales, Clemens encouraged using the police department’s Safe Exchange Zone — a set of parking spots meant specifically for internet purchase exchanges, child custody exchanges or any other reason individuals may feel the need to meet in a safe, public place.

“If people are going to do these types of exchanges, we encourage them to come to the police department,” Clemens said.

The Safe Exchange Zone is available for use at all hours, and is constantly monitored by cameras, which Clemens said could help identify any suspects if necessary.

In addition to the Safe Exchange Zone, Clemens said the police department’s lobby is available for exchanges during regular business hours, and the building’s vestibule is available at 24/7. Both spaces have cameras.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
What To Read Next
Get Local