It is common for Facebook Marketplace to be filled with scammers looking for their next target. These scams take hold in several different ways, aiming to either get the items you’re selling for free, to get you to pay for something that isn’t what it seems or to send money for nothing. Most scams can be easily identified if you know what to look for. Here is a rundown of some of the most popular scams on Marketplace and how to avoid them.
Common Facebook Marketplace Scams
Scammers continue getting more creative at getting their victims to give them money. While it would be difficult to list every type of scam people are currently trying to run on the platform, here are some of the most commonly seen scams.
- Asking for Items Before Payment Is Received
If a buyer is demanding to receive a product you’re selling before their funds have fully transferred, you should be a bit wary of their efforts. They could easily withdraw the funds or cancel the payment if it is still pending. Some scammers will even send you a fake email that says they paid you when they didn’t, which is why they are trying to get you to send them the product they “purchased” before you find out. Only give the items after you receive payment.
- Broken Electronics
If you meet in a public place to buy a new electronic device or system, you must wait to test the equipment before paying for it and taking possession. That’s where a scam can take effect because you will only have a way of knowing whether it works or not once you get home and test it out. It could be too late at that point, and good luck finding the seller on the Marketplace app again. They will likely wipe the account, create a new one, and attempt their next scam again.
There is a scam where buyers will overpay you for an item and request that you send them the difference. For example, if they buy something from you for $100 but send you $250, they’ll ask for the extra $150 back. The problem with this is that when it happens, it is almost always because the buyer is using a stolen bank account, credit card, or another payment method. They are trying to get money off the card without the funds going directly to them from the stolen card. Always be on alert when this happens.
- Fake Peer-to-Peer Payment App Requests
This type of scam is very popular. The scam starts with a simple request that sounds legitimate to the seller, you. The scammer will send an email from a peer-to-peer payment system such as Venmo. However, the email won’t be from Venmo. Instead, it will be a free email account from a service like Gmail (i.e., Venmo@gmail.com) that is made to look like the actual company. The scam typically involves you sending money or attempting to show you that they paid you already when in fact, they did not.
- Communicating Outside of the Marketplace App
Always follow Facebook Marketplace’s rules, and ensure you only use the app to communicate. You want to keep your phone number private because then someone could potentially steal your identity or use your phone number to create a Google Voice number. This can also be used to scam other people.
How to Identify Potential Scams
One of the most obvious things that scammers do is to create new Facebook accounts frequently. You can be a lot wearier of a newer account than you need to be of someone who is established on the platform. However, hackers can also take over accounts, pretending to be the original account owner. At the same time, they get you to send them money, so it’s always important always to be alert for potential scams.
If something doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t move forward with the transaction. Scammers tend to either provide a deal that is too good to be true, ask something of you that is against the Marketplace guidelines, or require you to communicate outside the app. It becomes easier to see scams when you’re actively looking to protect yourself.
What to do If You Got Scammed
If you get scammed, then it’s crucial to reverse your damage quickly. For example, if you got scammed and used your bank account or credit card, you’ll want to freeze those cards as they may have been compromised. Once you protect your personal assets from any potential damage being done, the next step is to notify Facebook Marketplace of the scammer and provide details of the scam. Any evidence you can provide will be helpful to their fraud team.
It can be scary to participate in transactions without the protection of a financial institution or third party to help oversee the process. On Facebook Marketplace, attempted scams happen every day, and you don’t want to be someone who falls victim. Identifying potential scams before they happen is important, so you don’t lose out on your hard-earned money.