RACINE – With the year-end holidays approaching, the Racine Police Department (RPD) has seen a recent increase in robberies during property exchanges related to online transactions.

The RPD offers these suggestions for completing online transactions (such as Facebook Marketplace or Craig’s List) that result in face-to-face exchanges.

  • When meeting with a seller or buyer, use a heavily-populated area. Safe choice include in front of the RPD headquarters, 730 Center St., any of the COP Houses or outside a heavily-traffic business.
  • Meet during daylight hours.
  • Always bring a cellphone with you.
  • Try not to come alone if possible.

Robberies have recently occurred when the victim has agreed to meet in a park or at a private residence to exchange money, the RPD reported.

Avoiding the ‘Water Department Scam’

Racine Police also urge the public to be aware of a common tactic that potential thieves use to enter and rob residents.

A suspect, or suspects, claim to be an employee of the water department or similar organization. The suspects may wear a vest or a vague identification badge. The suspects will claim that they need access to your house to read a meter. But once inside, one suspect may distract the homeowner while another suspect looks for valuables.

How to prevent trouble:

  • Racine Water Department personnel will only need to personally check a meter during normal business hours (Monday through Friday).
  • Racine Water Department personnel drive blue trucks with Water Department markings.
  • If you’re suspicious or concerned about a Water Department employee visiting your home, immediately call Meter Supervisor Mike Wurster at 262-636-9186 or the general number at 262-636-9181 for employee verification.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...