Facebook Marketplace makes it easy to connect with buyers and sellers in your area, as well as scams in some cases, if you want to sell some of your stuff or find a great deal on someone else’s. Here are some of the most common Facebook Marketplace scams and ways to protect yourself as a buyer or a seller.
How do the scams on Facebook Marketplace work?
Scammers have devised many ways to trick people on Facebook Marketplace, and each works differently. Usually, someone tries to buy or sell something without paying for it. In seller scams, someone says they are selling something but doesn’t deliver it as promised.
How a buyer on Facebook Marketplace can get ripped off
Fraudulent sellers try various things, like selling fake or broken goods or building manufactured rental homes. Before you buy something on Facebook Marketplace, you should know about these cons.
A deal that seems too good to be true
Did you see an ad for, say, the newest and most popular Nike shoes at a price that was a small part of the regular price? Most likely, the shoes are fake.
Before you agree to buy, ask to see more than one picture of the shoes, a live video, or even the original sales ticket. Use PayPal or another payment method that protects you if the items are fake.
A fake place to rent
The listed house might be just what you’re looking for but don’t send a deposit until you or someone you trust has seen the place to make sure it’s as described and still accessible.
Scammers will put up ads for houses that aren’t even for rent, take a payment, and then disappear.
A Broken Thing
That video game system you just bought for $200? Even though the ad might have said it was barely used, it doesn’t work. You gave that $200 to the seller in the McDonald’s parking lot, where you had agreed to meet. You didn’t plug it in. And you’ll never be able to find that seller again on Facebook.
Before you pay for technology or other things that might not work, it’s best to turn them on and test them.
Switch and Bait
The standard bait-and-switch is advertising one thing and then trying to replace it with something else. You see something you’ve been looking for for a long time, but the seller tells you it’s unavailable and gives you an alternative that costs more.
Don’t be afraid to leave a deal if it’s not what you wanted in the first place.
If you see something free or a drawing for something free, don’t do it. It’s probably a phishing scam. To join the picture, you had to click on a link. If you did, malware or a virus could be downloaded to access your private information.
How a Facebook Marketplace seller can get ripped off
Scams can happen to anyone, not just buyers in a marketplace. There are a few ways that a buyer on Facebook Marketplace can trick you. A fake buyer could use a prepaid shipping label, a proof code, or an extra to fool you.
Here is more information about how these scams work and how to avoid buying from fake buyers on Facebook Marketplace.
Paid labels for shipping and lost packages
Be wary of any buyer who asks if they can provide you with a prepaid shipping label. The label will be accurate, but once you ship the item, the buyer can request that it be sent to a different address than the one on the label. Then, they will say that they never got the package.
Some buyers skip the prepaid label scam and try to say they never got the things they bought and ask the honest party in the transaction, you, for a return. This is against Facebook’s Purchase Protection Policy.
To avoid these scams, ensure you never use a buyer’s prepaid shipping card and have tracking information for all packages.
Asking for a phone number
A “buyer” wants you to text to set up an instant pickup of the thing. That is an attempt to get your phone number so the scammer can quickly sign up for a Google Voice number, which will send a verification code to your phone. The crook will ask you to send the code, but this is to make sure you are real.
That code will unlock the Google Voice number, which can help the hacker pull off more scams, like stealing your identity.
Don’t talk to buyers anywhere other than the Marketplace.
Paid too much
Say the buyer and seller agree that the price will be $20, but the buyer pays $50, says it was a mistake and wants $30 back. That’s not a problem unless the bank finds out. It’s possible that the seller paid you with a stolen card or a fake check. You’re out of the original payment and the “overpayment” you returned.
It is best to turn down overpayments and ask the buyer to send the correct amount again.
Scammers can be found on any online marketplace, including Facebook Marketplace. The most important things to remember are:
- Don’t talk to anyone outside of Facebook.
- Be wary of buyers and sellers whose profiles are brand new or who want to do transactions in odd ways.
- Only use payment methods that Facebook’s Purchase Protection Policy lets you use.
- Keep track of everything you ship.
- Go with your gut, and don’t do anything that makes you even more suspicious.
- Finally, make sure you know about the latest scams on Facebook Marketplace.
Keeping all of this in mind, you shouldn’t have trouble buying and selling through the site.