Safety Tips from Detective Sergeant Nick Ferrara of Gainesville, FL Pt. 1

Community Manager

The most valuable currency in our marketplace is trust. Being the most trusted marketplace has been our goal since the very beginning. In the past few years, we've partnered with law enforcement officials across the nation, educated them on the ways that OfferUp can assist, and launched our Community MeetUp Spots campaign. We recently asked Detective Sergeant Nick Ferrara for some trust and safety tips which will be highlighted in the next two blogs. 

 

In this blog, you'll be introduced to Nick and the background that led him to where he is now. Stay tuned for next week when we post all his tips and tricks.

 

Let's meet Nick!

 

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Detective Sergeant Nick Ferrara
Financial and Organized Crimes Investigations
Bachelor in Criminology from University of Florida
22 years with the Gainesville Police Department
10 years of Criminal Investigations experience
The remaining 12 years I was assigned to Patrol Operations with various specialties to include SWAT, Rifle Team, DUI camera operator, and Traffic Homicide Investigator.


- What is your favorite safety feature?
My favorite Safety feature has to be the TruYou identity verification. So many times, scammers and criminals will try to hide their identity by using fake numbers, emails, names, etc. The “layering” or distancing they create makes it difficult for the police to identify the actual suspects. The TruYou verification feature requires the user to disclose TRUE information in order to verify actual email addresses, social media profiles, cell phones numbers, etc. The scammer looking to make a quick buck using bogus information will most likely be deterred from using the app because of this, therefore, reducing the chance of the buyer being duped into buying stolen, broken, or counterfeit goods.  

 

- Why did you get into law enforcement?

Both my brothers are in law enforcement and it sounded like a fun, exciting, and challenging career. Besides earning my Bachelors from UF in Criminology in 1996, I have always had the utmost respect for the police and thought I would want to be a part of this noble profession. It’s a career where each day can bring just about any type of challenge before you, ranging from something trivial like telling a kid why he needs to listen to his mother at bath time (Yes, this actually happened) to being in a life-threatening situation.  I have been able to do and see things many people would never want to see or experience. I am a people person as well and enjoy interacting with others, mostly in a positive setting.

 

Next week we will hear tons of tips and recommendations from Sergeant Nick so be sure to check back for more!

30 Comments
Level 9

Can’t wait to hear more. My sister is retired now from the police department in Maryland. She has given me tips on being safe. Will be looking for the next posts you do on this. Thank you. 

Community Helper

Appreciate this post @Mj_206  & Detective Sergeant, Nick Ferrara!

Was undecided on becoming TruYou, however, your pros on the verification process solidified my choice!

Becoming TruYou Verified!

New Member

I too am skeptical about signing up for TruYou because my license has my address etc. I d like a little more info on WHY this is a good thing to do and how I am protected. Thanks much 

Gesina 

New Member

So this is something I come across often someone who has just created an account no followers will ask for my phone number or PayPal info and ask that I send them an item I'm featuring.. my response and correct me if I'm wrong is that all transactions are done through offerup unless local and doing a cash transaction.  Right or wrong?

Community Manager

Great question and welcome to the Community, @Keeko! The TruYou feature was specifically designed with safety in mind. Sergeant Nick had some great points above that this feature really lets you know who you're working with. It can also be a bit of an insurance policy if something does happen to go sour with the transaction. If you do decide to apply for TruYou, no information will be stored, so your license and address will be completely safe. Some users choose to only buy from or sell to other TruYou verified users just because it offers a bit more peace of mind. Hopefully that info helps!

 

@KaizerVonQuex DING DING DING!! Right!! Users that ask for phone numbers or try to take the conversation off of the app should be reported. To be eligible for our Buyer Protection, the item must be purchased using our Shipping feature or our cashless payments options. So your response is perfect! Smiley Very Happy

 

I'll be posting part 2 of his tips tomorrow, so stay tuned! 

Level 9

Will be looking forward to part 2. Can’t wait. I can and I will but you all know what I mean. I’ll stop now.

New Member

Wonderful tips.  But please advise what can be done when the seller advertised one item and shipped a different item and refuses to acknowledge problem? Trying to communicate concern and work out issues with seller resulted in  2 day Offerup buyer protection expired.  No way to contact seller after being scammed.  Advice?

Level 9

@REMEMBRANCE  I wasn’t going to do this but like you I now think it’s a good idea. Becoming TruYou Verified too! 

Community Helper

Just got my TruYou Badge

@Jones68 love it!

You should too... very simple, only took a few minutes!

Feel all TruYou now... Lol Smiley Wink

Level 9

That’s so funny! Yep! I’m doing it in about 5 minutes. @REMEMBRANCE  I’ll be back when I’m done doing it.

Level 9

Oh God! Hope nobody miss reads that. I really have to think before I hit post.

Level 9

@REMEMBRANCE  @Mj_206  Now I’m done. Just waiting for my email. How long does that usually take? My selfie makes me look like a dork. I never take good pictures. Anyway, I’m in .

Level 9

@REMEMBRANCE  I did everything but Facebook. Not joining Facebook. 

Community Manager
Level 9

@Mj_206  I know. I just read it. It was great for a professional to take time to give tips to the community. I enjoyed it very much. Everyone should read it. 

Level 9

@REMEMBRANCE  @Mj_206  Just got my TruYou Badge! That was fast! Great!

Community Manager

WOOOOHOOOOOO @Jones68!! Welcome to the TruYou Club!!

Level 9

Thank you. Just did about 30 minutes ago. Guess I took a good picture. LOL! Was really easy. Took maybe 5 minutes of my time. Clear pictures the key. Worked great. 

Community Helper

TruYou too @Jones68!

Pics in focus is a must... took a couple of x's for me.

 

Level 1

When it comes to reporting scams the scammer has made it very difficult because they remove their profile from your profile. Therefore their picture is not accessible for me to report them and I'm not finding how to report them otherwise please assist.

 

 More specifically Robert who was supposed to have been a safe person to do business with because he was labeled as such offered me the money I requested for the dresser that I posted.  I ask him to send a you as USPS money order.  he sent me a check for $1,950 when the item he was supposed to purchase was only $300. I knew that this was a scam and I text him and let him know do not communicate with me again and that I will be mailing the check back to the address that was on the envelope.

 

 Please help me report this person I do have his phone number and the text message chain

Neighbor
Level 1

Be certain this is a scam. The same thing happened to me yesterday. As a matter of fact the scammers work together. I had one offer to purchase my bed  and  the other scammer offered to purchase my dresser.  

 I suppose that this is how the scam works. When they send you more money than is required for the purchase of the item and the cost of the movers they will ask for the excess money. Once your bank discovers  the check is not good you're stuck for all of this money and you're out of your furniture.

Level 1

Additionally, though their names may change here are their phone numbers

And by the way I was FedEx'd a check from a New York Address.

New Member

Just had the same issue...selling table for 450 got a check for 1400-knew it was wrong so told the guy I would not do business in this way. 

Neighbor

How do you report  a scam just received a fake certificate check it was supposedly sent from a church in TX I called church and was told it was a scam that other checks were issued under their name but the account was closed. Scammers wanted a picture of deposit slip showing it was cashed. That would have given them bank account #s . It was also send priority mail through the post office. 

Community Helper

@Darkstar06 

Welcome to OU! However, being a Nationwide platform, links are prohibited. Take care. Ciao´

New Member

What possible justification could you have for the prohibition of links?!!!

 

Without the link to the article, my point becomes anecdotal. It's just me repeating something I heard, that may or may not be true, causing the reader to have to round up the information for themselves. 

Seriously, most people simply do not have the time for that. 

New Member

One would think that a link to an article that is directly related to the safety and well being of the users of this specific app would be welcome. 

Community Helper

@Darkstar06 

Very understandable, but still against Community Guidelines. Appreciate the contribution though. So nice!

Captain

Thanks  for all information .