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Scams on Facebook Marketplace: How to Avoid?

by | Sep 18, 2023

Facebook Marketplace is a convenient and popular platform for buying and selling goods online. You can find a variety of items, from furniture and clothing to electronics and vehicles, at affordable prices. However, as with any online marketplace, you also need to be aware of the potential scams and frauds that may occur on Facebook Marketplace.

Scammers may use various tactics to trick you into paying for items that don’t exist, sending them money or personal information, or compromising your account security. In this article, we will explain some of the most common scams on Facebook Marketplace, how to identify them, and how to avoid them.

Common Scams on Facebook Marketplace

Here are some of the most common scams that you may encounter on Facebook Marketplace:

Paying or communicating outside of Facebook

Paying or communicating outside of Facebook

One of the most common scams on Facebook Marketplace is when the seller or buyer asks you to pay or communicate outside of Facebook. For example, they may ask you to use a different app, such as WhatsApp or Telegram, or a different payment method, such as Venmo or Cash App.

The reason why scammers do this is to avoid Facebook’s monitoring and protection systems, which can detect and prevent fraudulent transactions. By paying or communicating outside of Facebook, you lose the ability to report or dispute the transaction if something goes wrong. You also expose yourself to the risk of phishing, hacking, or identity theft.

How to identify it: If someone asks you to pay or communicate outside of Facebook, be suspicious and cautious. Do not share your personal or financial information with anyone you don’t know or trust. Do not click on any links or download any files that they send you.

How to avoid it: The best way to avoid this scam is to use Facebook’s official payment and communication channels. You can pay for items using Facebook Pay, which is a secure and convenient way to send and receive money on Facebook. You can also communicate with sellers or buyers using Facebook Messenger, which allows you to send messages, photos, videos, and voice notes.

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Mailing items

Mailing items

Another common scam on Facebook Marketplace is when the seller asks you to pay for an item before they mail it to you. They may claim that they are out of town, in a hurry, or have a special offer for you. They may also provide you with fake shipping information or tracking numbers to make it seem like they have sent the item.

However, once you pay for the item, you may never receive it or receive something different from what you ordered. The seller may disappear with your money or block you from contacting them. You may also have difficulty getting a refund from Facebook or your bank.

How to identify it: If someone asks you to pay for an item before they mail it to you, be wary and careful. Do not pay for anything that you have not seen or inspected in person. Do not trust anyone who makes unrealistic or unreasonable promises or requests.

How to avoid it: The best way to avoid this scam is to buy items locally and pick them up in person. You can arrange a safe and convenient meeting place with the seller, such as a public area with other people around. You can also inspect the item before paying for it and make sure it matches the description and photos.

Overpayment and refund

Overpayment and refund

Another common scam on Facebook Marketplace is when the buyer sends you an overpayment and asks for a refund. For example, they may send you a check for more than the agreed price and ask you to send them back the difference. They may claim that it was a mistake, an accident, or a favor.

However, the check that they sent you may be fake or stolen, and it may bounce after a few days or weeks. By then, you may have already sent them back the money or shipped them the item. You may end up losing both your money and your item. You may also face legal consequences for cashing a fraudulent check.

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How to identify it: If someone sends you an overpayment and asks for a refund, be alert and skeptical. Do not accept any payment that is more than the agreed price. Do not send any money back until you are sure that the payment has cleared and is legitimate.

How to avoid it: The best way to avoid this scam is to use Facebook Pay as your payment method. Facebook Pay allows you to send and receive money securely and instantly on Facebook. You can also track your payment history and status on your account settings.

Fake products

Fake products

Another common scam on Facebook Marketplace is when the seller sells you fake or counterfeit products. For example, they may advertise branded clothing, accessories, or electronics at very low prices. They may use photos from other websites or sources to make their products look authentic and appealing.

However, once you receive the product, you may discover that it is of poor quality, damaged, defective, or different from what you ordered. The product may also have no warranty, receipt, or return policy. You may have difficulty contacting the seller or getting a refund from them.

How to identify it: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious and skeptical of any products that are sold at very low prices or have no reviews or ratings. Do not trust anyone who claims to have a limited stock, a special deal, or a urgent deadline.

How to avoid it: The best way to avoid this scam is to buy products from reputable and verified sellers. You can check the seller’s profile, feedback, and ratings on Facebook Marketplace. You can also ask the seller for more details, photos, or videos of the product. You can also compare the product with other similar products on other websites or platforms.

How to Report Scams on Facebook Marketplace

If you encounter or fall victim to any scams on Facebook Marketplace, you should report them to Facebook as soon as possible. Reporting scams can help Facebook take action against the scammers and prevent them from harming other users. Reporting scams can also help you get your money back or resolve your issue with the seller or buyer.

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To report scams on Facebook Marketplace, you can follow these steps:

How to Report Scams on Facebook Marketplace
  • Go to the item or conversation that you want to report.
  • Tap on the menu (three dots) icon at the top right corner.
  • Tap on “Report” and choose the reason for your report.
  • Follow the instructions and provide any additional information or evidence.
  • Wait for Facebook’s response and follow up if needed.

You can also report scams to other authorities or organizations, such as:

  • Your bank or payment provider, if you used a credit card, debit card, or online payment service.
  • Your local police department, if you lost money or personal information, or if you feel unsafe or threatened.
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), if you want to file a consumer complaint or get more information about online scams.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), if you want to check the reputation of a business or file a dispute resolution request.

FAQ

What is Facebook Marketplace and how does it work?

Facebook Marketplace is a platform that allows you to buy and sell goods online with other Facebook users. You can browse or search for items in your local area or across the country, and contact the sellers or buyers directly through Facebook Messenger. You can also list your own items for sale by uploading photos, descriptions, and prices.

Conclusion

Facebook Marketplace is a great place to buy and sell goods online, but you also need to be careful and vigilant of the potential scams and frauds that may occur on the platform. By knowing how to identify, avoid, and report scams on Facebook Marketplace, you can protect yourself and your money from criminals and enjoy a safe and smooth shopping experience.

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