Dangerous Facebook Marketplace Scams You Must Avoid

by Adrian Yang

Dangerous Facebook Marketplace Scams You Must Avoid

Facebook Marketplace is a popular platform where users can buy and sell goods with other Facebook users in their local area. However, scammers have found ways to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers and sellers. To avoid these Facebook Marketplace scams, users should always research the seller and the product before making a purchase. 

Red Flag: A New Account

If it feels like a red flag, 9 times out of 10, it is a red flag. No, we are not talking about a guy taking off his shoes on a first date at a fancy restaurant type of red flag. We are talking about the bad feeling in your gut, red flag. If a profile picture doesn’t look right, become Nancy Drew and investigate. A new account on Facebook Marketplace could be a red flag for several reasons. Fraudsters often create fake accounts to avoid being detected by Facebook’s security measures. They may create multiple accounts to post fake listings with counterfeit items or to contact potential victims. 

New accounts have no history of transactions or reviews, making it difficult to assess the seller’s credibility. Buyers should be cautious when dealing with new accounts, especially if they are selling high-value items or offering deals that seem too good to be true.

Paying or communicating outside of Facebook

It should be give me the cash, and I’ll give you the rubber band. Not give the rubber band before the cash. When transacting on Facebook Marketplace, it is crucial to never pay or communicate outside of Facebook’s secure payment system and Facebook messenger. Scammers often request payment outside of Facebook’s system to avoid detection of using stolen credit cards and make it difficult for victims to recover their funds if they fall victim to fraud.

By paying outside of Facebook messenger and their online marketplaces, you also lose the protection and security measures offered by Facebook’s payment system, which includes dispute resolution and buyer protection. Communicating outside of Facebook messenger platform increases the risk of scams and fraud, as scammers can send malicious links or ask for confidential information. Facebook monitors transactions and messages on its platform to ensure the safety and security of its users through Facebook’s purchase protection policies.

Selling counterfeit items

With the rise in untracable dupes, buying and selling counterfeit items can go above both of your heads. Some people think their item is legitimate because it looks, feels or even functions the same. You didn’t ask for the Fucci belt, you asked for the Gucci belt. You should be wary of users selling counterfeit items and fake or misleading photos on Facebook Marketplace. It is the perfect place to post unsuspecting images of products that seem authentic but aren’t, like a knockoff designer bag.  

Pro tip: when it doubt, ask for a well lit image with a piece of paper with a time, date and “code word” to verify legitimacy.

Buying counterfeit items supports illegal activities and may even be a criminal offense in some jurisdictions. Purchasing counterfeit items may not meet safety standards and may be hazardous to your health or safety. 

Counterfeit items may be of lower quality than the genuine product, which may result in a shorter lifespan or cause damage or harm. Facebook Marketplace policies prohibit the sale of counterfeit items, and buying or selling such items may result in account suspension or termination. 

You’re asked to send the item before you receive payment

It is essential never to send an item before receiving payment on Facebook Marketplace. Doing so can put you at risk of fraud and losing the item and the payment. Scammers may pose as legitimate buyers and ask you to send the item before paying, and once you send the item, they may never pay or respond again. 

Even if a buyer seems trustworthy, payment disputes can arise, and without payment, you have no leverage to resolve the dispute. By using Facebook checkout, you can ensure that payment is made before sending the item, and in case of a dispute, you can use the system’s dispute resolution process to resolve the issue.

It is crucial to follow Facebook’s policies and only use its secure payment system to protect yourself from fraud and ensure a smooth and secure transaction.

Offering giveaways that are too good to be true

Didn’t your Mama ever teach you that if it sounds too good to be true that 9 times out of 10, it is. That translates to giveaways on Facebook Marketplace. Avoid giveaways that seem too good to be true on Facebook Marketplace because they are often scams designed to trick people into giving away their personal information or money. 

Scammers create fake listings or giveaways offering high-value items or services for free, and once people enter their personal information or send money, the scammers disappear. Furthermore, such giveaways violate Facebook Marketplace’s policies, which prohibit fraudulent or misleading content. 

Be cautious when participating in giveaways and to verify the authenticity of the listing and the seller. You should never give away your personal information or send money to participate in a giveaway. 

Never send back codes texted to your phone

Verification codes are the new way to lock down and access your account, but let me tell you, where there’s a way in, there’s a scammer trying to hack it. Don’t ever send back codes texted to your phone if you didn’t request it, because it’s a trick that scammers use to swipe your accounts and personal info. They can pretend to be a legit company or person and ask you to give them the verification code that was texted to you. Once they get it, they can access your accounts, like your social media, email, or bank accounts, and even steal your identity.

Keep in mind that real companies won’t ask you to give them your verification codes or passwords through text messages or phone calls. If you get a text asking for a verification code that you didn’t request, just delete it and don’t respond.

Buyer beware: Scammers have set up shop on Facebook. Here’s how to avoid falling victim to some common Facebook Marketplace scams

Facebook used to be the place where the college kids hangout, but the moment the floodgates opened for access to everyone, that means a vulnerable population also obtained access. So while you might be tech savvy and know to watch out for scammers on facebook, make sure you send these 6 helpful tips to Grandma Carole to share at her next bingo night:

  1. Research the product and the seller: Before making a purchase, research the product and the seller to verify their authenticity and credibility.
  2. Use Facebook’s secure payment system: Always use Facebook’s secure payment system to protect yourself from fraud and ensure a smooth and secure transaction.
  3. Avoid deals that seem too good to be true: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid deals that seem too good to be true and verify the authenticity of the listing and the seller.
  4. Never pay or communicate outside of Facebook: Avoid paying or communicating outside of Facebook’s secure payment system and messaging platform, as it puts you at risk of fraud and losing your payment or personal information.
  5. Be wary of new accounts: New accounts may be created by scammers to avoid detection. Be cautious when dealing with new accounts and verify their authenticity.
  6. Report suspicious activity: If you come across suspicious activity or a listing that violates Facebook Marketplace’s policies, report it to Facebook immediately.

Moving conversations out of Facebook

Moving conversations out of Facebook is totally sketchy and can be super dangerous for both individuals and businesses. When you take conversations to other platforms, you’re giving up the safety and security that Facebook provides, and that can make it way easier for hackers and other bad actors to get ahold of your personal info. Plus, when you have conversations on a bunch of different platforms, it’s way harder to keep track of everything, which could lead to major miscommunications and missed messages.

And let’s be real, it’s just way harder to build trust with potential customers or partners when you’re talking to them on sketchy, unverified platforms. So do yourself a favor and keep your convos on Facebook where they belong!

Requesting advance payments

Requiring upfront payments on Facebook Marketplace can be a dicey proposition for both buyers and sellers. It might seem convenient to get paid before delivering the goods, but there’s a significant risk of fraud or scamming. For instance, the seller might get paid but never ship the item, or the buyer might pay in advance and never receive the product.

Facebook Marketplace explicitly prohibits the use of any form of payment outside of the platform, including advance payments. If either the buyer or seller flouts these policies, they could end up getting banned or suspended. It’s crucial for both parties to thoroughly peruse and adhere to Facebook Marketplace’s guidelines to ensure a safe and equitable deal.

Don’t agree to a bait and switch

Be careful not to fall for bait and switch tactics. This is when a seller advertises one product but tries to sell you something else entirely when you show up to make the purchase. It’s a shady way to do business that violates Facebook’s policies and can leave you feeling swindled or frustrated. 

For example, a seller may advertise a high-quality product at a low price, but when the buyer shows up to purchase the item, the seller claims that the item is no longer available and tries to sell them a different, less desirable item at a higher price. 

Before agreeing to buy anything, make sure the seller can provide proof that the product they advertised is still available and in the condition advertised. Don’t let a bait and switch scam ruin your day

Overpayment by a buyer

If you’re buying or selling on Facebook Marketplace, it’s important to be smart about payment to avoid any overpayment or fraudulent activity. One way to do this is by agreeing on the price and payment method upfront, and making sure both parties understand the terms of the transaction. Be careful of any seller who asks for payment through an unsecured method like wire transfer or money order, as this can leave you vulnerable to fraud.

Make sure to review the item description and photos carefully to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for. If a seller asks for more money than advertised or requests additional fees, it’s a red flag and you should proceed with caution.

Watch out for requests for personal or financial information, like social security numbers or bank account details, as this can lead to identity theft. Stay safe and smart on Facebook Marketplace!

Mailing items

Sending items via mail for Facebook Marketplace transactions can be sketchy and may result in a big letdown or money loss. When you mail an item, it can be hard to verify if it’s real or not and if the buyer or seller is who they say they are. There’s a risk that the item may get damaged or lost in the shipping process, leaving both parties high and dry. Plus, mailing items can be time-consuming and expensive compared to meeting up locally.

If mailing is the only option, make sure to use a safe and trackable shipping method and document the item’s condition and delivery closely. But if you can, it’s always better to meet in person for a local transaction to ensure both parties are satisfied and happy.

Fake seller accounts

To avoid fake seller accounts on Facebook, it’s important for buyers to do their due diligence. First and foremost, check the seller’s profile and ratings from previous transactions. If they have no reviews or ratings, or their profile seems sketchy, it’s best to steer clear.

Be on the lookout for sellers who insist on payment through non-secure methods, such as wire transfers or money orders. These offer little protection in case of fraud. And don’t forget to carefully examine the item description and photos to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for.

If something seems too good to be true, or the seller can’t provide additional information or photos, it could be a sign of a scam. And be wary of any requests for personal or financial information, as scammers may use this to steal your identity or commit fraud. 

A Fake Rental Property

To avoid the fake rental property scam on Facebook Marketplace, it’s important to be vigilant and take a few key precautions. Buyers should be wary of any rental properties that seem too good to be true or are listed at a significantly lower price than comparable properties in the area. 

Buyers should verify the identity of the landlord or property manager by requesting to see their ID or conducting a Google search to verify their name and contact information. Third, buyers should never wire money or send a deposit without seeing the property in person and signing a lease agreement. If a landlord insists on payment before the buyer has seen the property, it may be a sign of a scam.

Listing phony rentals

If you’re looking for a rental on Facebook Marketplace, it’s important to be cautious of phony listings. There are a few steps you can take to avoid falling victim to rental scams. First, keep an eye out for listings that seem too good to be true or are priced significantly lower than comparable properties in the area. Before making any payments, always verify the identity of the landlord or property manager by requesting to see their ID or doing a quick Google search.

Don’t send any money or make a deposit before seeing the property in person and signing a lease agreement. If the landlord insists on payment upfront, it may be a red flag. Additionally, be cautious of any requests for personal or financial information, such as social security numbers or bank account details, as scammers can use this information for identity theft or fraud.

To stay safe, it’s best to use reputable rental websites or work with a licensed real estate agent to help ensure that the rental listings you are considering are legitimate. With a little bit of caution and due diligence, you can avoid falling victim to rental scams on Facebook Marketplace.

Inconsistent pricing

Inconsistent pricing on Facebook Marketplace is a major red flag for potential buyers. Sellers who list items at drastically different prices than comparable listings may be engaging in fraudulent activity, such as bait-and-switch scams. It’s important for buyers to do their research and compare prices across multiple listings before making a purchase. In some cases, sellers may list items at a higher price and then offer a lower price in private messages to potential buyers.

This is a common tactic used by scammers to make buyers feel like they are getting a deal, but it can lead to disputes and disappointment if the item is not as described or never arrives.

Advance payment requests

It is generally not a good idea to agree to advance payment requests on Facebook Marketplace. Advanced payment requests can be risky for both buyers and sellers. Buyers may pay in advance and never receive the item, while sellers may receive payment but never actually ship the product. 

This type of fraudulent behavior is not uncommon and can result in financial loss and disappointment for the buyer. Additionally, Facebook Marketplace’s policies prohibit the use of any form of payment outside of the platform, which includes requesting advance payments. 

Advertising fake giveaways

Promoting bogus giveaways on Facebook Marketplace is not cool and could land you in legal trouble. Fake giveaways are scams where sellers offer high-value items like cars or vacations as a prize to attract a large audience or potential customers. The catch is, there is no real giveaway, and the seller is only using the promotion as a bait to drive traffic to their page or website.

This type of dishonest advertising goes against Facebook’s rules and can damage the user experience by deceiving potential customers. In some areas, advertising phony giveaways might even be considered a breach of consumer protection laws. It’s essential for businesses to be transparent and honest in their advertising practices and avoid using deceitful strategies that could harm their brand reputation and break their customers’ trust.

Selling items that don’t work

It’s seriously not cool to sell items that don’t work on Facebook Marketplace. It’s shady and breaks the trust between buyer and seller that’s necessary for a fair deal. If you sell a non-working item, you’re leaving the buyer feeling scammed and it can be hard for them to get a refund or resolution.

FYI, Facebook Marketplace has strict policies against selling counterfeit or non-functioning items. If a seller violates these policies, they could face consequences like account suspension or even legal action. So, if you’re buying something, make sure to carefully review the description and photos, and ask the seller for any extra info you need to make an informed decision. If a seller won’t give you the info you need or insists on payment before you can fully check out the item, be wary. If you do end up with an item that doesn’t work, hit up the seller ASAP and ask for a refund or solution. If the seller is being a jerk, you can report the issue to Facebook Marketplace and take legal action if needed.

Don’t trust a payment receipt provided by the buyer

Don’t trust payment receipts provided by a buyer on Facebook Marketplace unless you’ve verified it through a legit payment method. Why? ‘Cause those receipts can be easily faked or manipulated, and scammers are slick enough to do it.

So, to avoid getting played, only release the item once payment has been verified through a secure payment method like PayPal. That way, both you and the buyer are covered in case of any issues or disputes.

Prevent claims of lost packages

If you’re selling stuff on Facebook Marketplace, it’s important to keep your game strong and prevent claims of lost packages.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

First off, use a reliable and trackable shipping method, and give the buyer the tracking number as soon as you ship the item. That way, both you and the buyer can keep tabs on where the package is at all times. Make sure you pack it up securely to prevent damage or loss during shipping.

If you’re selling something pricey, it might be a good idea to get shipping insurance so you’re covered in case anything goes wrong during shipment. Be clear with the buyer about when they can expect to receive the package, and let them know if there are any delays or issues.

Lastly, make sure you follow up with the buyer after the package has been delivered to make sure they got it and are happy with their purchase. Keep your transactions smooth and your buyers satisfied! 

Why Scammers Target Facebook Marketplace

Scammers love targeting Facebook Marketplace ’cause it’s super popular and easy to use. It’s a cool way to buy and sell stuff, but scammers are slick and can use it to fool people who aren’t paying attention.

Since Facebook Marketplace is used by people all over the world, scammers have a huge pool of potential victims. They’ll try all sorts of sneaky moves, like posting fake giveaways, selling fake or broken stuff, or asking for payments through sketchy methods.

Now, Facebook Marketplace does have rules and policies to stop scammers, but they’re always finding new ways to beat the system. That’s why it’s important to stay savvy and keep an eye out for anything that seems too good to be true. Stay safe and keep your wits about you, fam!

Requiring deposits or prepayment

Listen up ’cause this is important: asking for prepayment or deposits on Facebook Marketplace can be a total risk for both buyers and sellers. Here’s why:

For buyers, prepayment means paying for something before you even get it. That’s sketchy ’cause what if the seller never sends it or sends something totally different from what they advertised? And let’s be real, asking for prepayment or deposits might be a sign of a scam or fraud. A seller could take your money and never send the item!

For sellers, requiring prepayment can also scare off buyers who don’t wanna send money to someone they don’t know, especially if the seller has no ratings or reviews. Plus, prepayment can cause fights between buyers and sellers if the item never arrives or isn’t what was promised.

So, let’s play it safe, guys. Don’t ask for prepayment or deposits, and don’t send money before you get your item!

How To Report a Facebook Marketplace Scam

If you encounter a Facebook Marketplace scam, it’s important to report it to Facebook as soon as possible. Facebook takes scams and fraudulent activity seriously and has a reporting system in place to help users report suspicious behavior.

To report a scam on Facebook Marketplace, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the “…” button located in the top right-hand corner of the seller’s profile.
  2. Select “Report Seller” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Choose the reason for the report, which may include “Scams, Frauds, or phishing,” “False Information,” or “Counterfeit Items.”
  4. Follow the prompts to provide additional information about the scam, including any screenshots or messages you may have received from the seller.
  5. Click “Submit” to complete the report.

In addition to reporting the scam to Facebook, you may also want to contact your local authorities or consumer protection agency to file a complaint.

Asking you to communicate outside of Facebook Marketplace

Here’s some important info: you should always avoid people who try to take your convo outside of Facebook Marketplace. Why? ‘Cause scammers love to use this trick to pull off shady deals and scam innocent peeps!

Facebook Marketplace is legit and has safe and secure features for buyers and sellers to chat, make deals, and do transactions. But when someone asks to talk outside the platform, they might be trying to dodge the safety measures and pull some illegal or fraudulent schemes.

If you do communicate outside Facebook Marketplace, you’re also putting yourself at risk. There’s no record of your convo or transaction on the platform, which can make it hard to resolve any issues or disputes. Stay smart and stay safe, and always keep your transactions within the platform!

Google Voice scams

You know about Google Voice, right? It’s a super useful service from Google that lets you make calls, send texts, and even get a unique phone number. But be careful, ’cause it’s also a popular target for scammers!

One scam involves scammers using Google Voice to impersonate a company or someone else and tricking people into giving away sensitive info or making payments. They’ll make a fake Google Voice number that looks legit and contact people through calls or texts. They might say they’re from a bank, the IRS, a tech support company, or some other government agency, and use high-pressure tactics to get people to give away personal info or money.

Another scam involves scammers using Google Voice to post fake job listings or rental properties. They’ll make a fake job or rental listing and provide a Google Voice number for people to contact them. Then they’ll ask for personal info like social security numbers or bank details to “apply” for the job or rental. Sometimes they’ll even ask for an advance payment or deposit before the job or rental is even secured!

To protect yourself from these scams, be careful when you get calls or texts from unfamiliar numbers. Don’t give out personal info or make payments over the phone or through text messages, especially if it seems sketchy or unsolicited. If you think it might be a scam, report it to Google Voice and the authorities ASAP.

For Sellers: How to Stay Safe While Selling on Marketplace

Selling on Facebook Marketplace can be a great way to earn extra income, but it’s important to take precautions to stay safe while doing so. Here are some tips to help sellers stay safe while selling on Marketplace:

  1. Only accept payment through Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace has built-in payment methods that are secure and help protect both buyers and sellers. Avoid accepting payment through other methods, such as wire transfer, cash, or personal checks, as these methods offer little to no protection.
  2. Verify the buyer’s identity: Before agreeing to meet with a buyer or ship an item, verify their identity and make sure they are a legitimate buyer. Check their Facebook profile and reviews to see if they have a history of positive transactions on the platform.
  3. Meet in a public place: If you are meeting with a buyer in person, always do so in a public place, such as a coffee shop or shopping mall. Avoid meeting at your home or any other private location.
  4. Don’t share personal information: Be cautious about sharing personal information with buyers, such as your home address or phone number. Use the messaging system within Facebook Marketplace to communicate with buyers and keep your personal information private.
  5. Be honest in your product descriptions: Avoid misrepresenting your items or making false claims in your product descriptions. This can lead to disputes with buyers and damage your reputation on the platform.

It’s important to always prioritize safety and take precautions to protect both yourself and your buyers.

Sending you a prepaid shipping label

When you’re selling or buying on Facebook Marketplace, watch out for those sneaky scammers who might send you a prepaid shipping label. It might seem legit, but it could actually be a red flag for a scam!

One common scam involves the scammer sending a prepaid shipping label that’s been overpaid. Then they’ll ask you to send back the extra money through a wire transfer or some other method. But once you do, you’ll find out that the original payment was fake, and you’re left with no way to get your cash back.

Another scam involves the scammer sending a fake prepaid shipping label that’s linked to a fake payment method. They’ll say they’ve made the payment, but ask you to ship the item before it’s actually gone through. Once you’ve shipped the item, you realize you never got paid and you’re left empty-handed.

To avoid getting scammed, make sure you check the prepaid shipping label’s legitimacy. Check if it matches the shipping address and payment method, and make sure the payment has actually gone through before you ship the item. And if you get an overpaid shipping label, don’t send any money back until you’ve verified that the payment is real.

Requesting verification codes to “prove” you’re legitimate

When you’re selling or buying on Facebook Marketplace, watch out for scammers who might ask you for a verification code to prove that you’re legit. They might be trying to get into your Facebook account or steal your personal deets!

One common scam involves a sneaky scammer pretending to be a Facebook rep and claiming that they need to verify your account. They might say that they need a verification code that was sent to your phone or email. But the snag and grab is, once you give them the code, they can get into your account and steal your personal info.

Another scam involves a shady buyer or seller claiming that they need to verify your identity before they can make a payment or ship an item to you. They might ask you for a verification code or other personal info to prove you’re the real deal. But, don’t fall for it! Once they get your info, they can steal your identity or do some other shady stuff.

To keep yourself safe, be careful when sharing personal information. Don’t give out any verification codes or personal info to someone you don’t know or trust. If someone asks you for a verification code, double-check their identity and make sure it’s legit before sharing any info. Stay woke or go for broke.

Asking you to ship before they pay

So, here’s the tea: some buyers on Facebook Marketplace may try to scam you by claiming that they’ve made a payment, but it hasn’t been processed yet. They’ll ask you to ship the item before the payment goes through and promise to pay you once they receive it.

Don’t fall for it! Once you ship the item, the buyer may ghost you and never actually pay, leaving you high and dry with no way to get your coins back. To avoid getting scammed, make sure to use secure payment methods like PayPal or Stripe and always wait until the payment has been confirmed before shipping the item. Don’t trust promises to pay later, girl, it’s not worth the risk!

Another scam involves a buyer claiming that they need the item urgently and asking you to ship it as soon as possible. The buyer may claim that they will pay you once the item has been received, but may disappear without actually making the payment.

by Adrian Yang Mar 29, 2023