How the Facebook Market Scam Works

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How Facebook Marketplace Scams Work

Facebook Marketplace is one of the largest online second-hand retailers today. While there are advantages to using Marketplace – such as making money selling your used items or finding used items for cheap – they are also home to fraudulent buyers and sellers and others trying to steal your identity.

In this article, you’ll learn about how Facebook Marketplace scams work, the types of scams you might find on the site, and what to look for when using Marketplace for any reason.

How to Tell if You’re Being Scammed

These are some red flags to watch out for if you buy or sell things on Facebook Marketplace:

Items sold for less than they shouldSellers won’t meet you in personPeople who want to talk off FacebookSellers ask you to pay them with a gift cardSellers ask for a deposit before sending itemBuyers ask for items to be shipped before payingUsers request personal informationSellers who don’t have a profile photo

Common Facebook Scams Targeting Shoppers

Here are some scams you should watch out for if you want to buy items from the Marketplace:

1. Fake gifts

You may get a message saying that you have won a gift card or some type of product and all you have to do is follow the link to fill out the survey. It is an attempt to get your information or gain the ability to install malware onto your device.

2. Bait and Swap

Did you find something in your Marketplace ad that you were looking for and the price was amazing? But when you ask about the availability it’s gone but they can sell you a more expensive one? It’s a scam.

3. Counterfeit products

This is where people try to sell you knockoffs. They want you to believe you bought an expensive brand name thing, but when you get it, it’s just a cheap imitation. Be sure to ask for proof of authenticity before buying anything.

4. Item is damaged

This one is especially popular when dealing with electronics. You should always try to test a product before buying it. If possible, meet the seller in a public place to try it on or request a video of the product in action.

5. Rent a fake house

Sometimes a property is listed for rent, but it turns out that the landlord is not the owner. Make sure you check with a trusted source that the property is legit. Rentals, for the most part, are usually cross-listed.

Common Facebook Scams Targeting Sellers

These are some of the scams you should be aware of if you want to sell items on the Market:

1. Package lost

Some scammers will buy an item and then say they never got the product, a claim that protects them from losing money. As a seller, it’s more expensive to pay to track goods and receive signed receipt confirmation, but it can help you in the long run.

2. Overpayment

This is when a buyer “accidentally” pays more money for an item and then asks you back for the extra amount. The bank found the payment method fraudulent and canceled the entire transaction. Meanwhile, you have sent them real money to cover the “overpayment”.

3. Using a stolen card for payment

You must use cash, PayPal or Facebook to pay for items as Facebook approves and you will receive money. Accepts Venmo, CashApp, etc. can leave you penniless.

4. Prepaid shipping label

Do not use prepaid shipping labels. The buyer can say they never received the product, and you will lose your money. Make sure as a seller you have control to verify delivery.

5. QR code

It can redirect you to phishing sites. Once you enter the information, sensitive data can be retrieved.

Common Facebook Scams Targeting Buyers and Sellers

These are some of the scams that both buyers and sellers should be aware of:

1. Fake account

Look for profiles with no photos, few friends, and those that are relatively new. Check their accounts for their purchase/sales history and see if their “friends” are actually bots.

2. Sending items before payment

Never send anything that hasn’t been paid for no matter what.

3. Asks you to click on a link for more information

This is a phishing scam and one you should avoid. Never click on links from untrusted sources.

4. Ask for your phone number

Hackers can access your account with just your name and phone number. Stay on Messenger for all your transactions and never share personal information.

How to Avoid Facebook Scams

There is always the possibility of being scammed, but there are ways to protect yourself. The following list is a way to ensure your safety when using Marketplace.

Review your credit card and bank statements regularly. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. See seller reviews. Just communicate on Facebook. Use two-factor authentication. Use a trusted payment method. If necessary, meet in a public place. Bring whatever you need to make sure the product is working.

What to Do if You Are Being Scammed

Here’s what you should do if you need to Report a Buyer for Scam:

Open listing.
Find the buyer’s name.”
Select “Report Buyer”.
Select “Scam” then follow the next instructions.

Here’s what you have to do to Report a Seller for fraud:

Open listing.
Tap the seller.
Select “Report Seller.”
Select “Scam” and follow the prompts.


Is Facebook Marketplace safe?

It can be a safe place to buy and sell things, as long as you take the right precautions.

How do Marketplaces work?

The seller will list an item, the buyer will contact them if they are interested in buying the item, you will agree on the price, the seller will ship the item, and the buyer will pay for it.

Can you go to Facebook for help?

Facebook help have a page set up to help you if you’ve been scammed.

Protect Yourself

Protecting yourself is important if you spend time online, especially if you buy or sell things on the platform. Keeping yourself safe on social media takes a few steps, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. If you are opening up on the internet, taking the proper precautions and being prepared is very important.

Have you ever used Facebook Marketplace to buy or sell anything? Did you have a good experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include affiliate links. This does not affect our editorial in any way.

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