"Trade Police" want to help keep you safe during Internet deals

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A new Midlands company wants to ensure the deals you make on websites like Craigslist don't cost you your safety. They're called the Trade Police, and they plan to keep Internet classifieds from turning deadly.

"We have the knowledge the skills and the capability to act," said Brian Clackley. "Some are choosing not to act, we're not we want to take action and we feel without a doubt this will save lives."

Clackley speaks with the conviction that comes from more than a decade spent in law enforcement, time enough, he says, to see too many abuses of classified websites like Craigslist. "We decided to put our skills together from computer technology to law enforcement to see if we could come up with an answer to put a stop to it."
"It" includes stories like one from Washington state, where a man was beaten and shot to death by people he thought were coming to his house to a buy a diamond ring he'd put up for sale on Craigslist.
To prevent similar Internet set-ups, Clackley and two others started the Trade Police, a kind of supervisory group for Internet deals.

For $2.99, they bring the buyer and seller to a safe public location they know is protected by cameras, identify both parties and observe the transaction. Clackley says the process will take about three minutes.
If you think going to a shady location to make an Internet deal is an obvious sign of trouble, Clackley says it's a gut feeling that in this economy, goes largely ignored. "Sometimes I think we're put in a desperate situation when we're faced with taking care of our family, or doing something that's maybe a little unsafe," he said.
Clackley says the Trade Police will be on patrol starting later this month, helping make sure the deals made online don't end up costing you more than you bargained for.

The Trade Police will launch in 12 cities, including Columbia. They hope to have links placed on major websites like Craigslist.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.