Facebook Marketplace can be a great online marketplace to find affordable second-hand items in your local area, or a great place to get rid of some old stuff you don’t need anymore and free up some storage space.
However, as with any kind of transaction arranged online, it’s important to be very careful when you make Marketplace deals — because you CAN get scammed on Facebook Marketplace.
Learning some common Facebook Marketplace scams to be on the lookout for is one of the best ways to avoid getting scammed on Facebook Marketplace. Keep reading to find out what some of the most prevalent Marketplace scams are.
In Facebook Marketplace shipping scams, the buyer or seller (depending on what side of the sale your on) will try to get you to either agree to pay for an item that they promise to ship to you, or try to get you to ship them an item you’re selling that they promise to pay for upon receipt. Of course, the scammers will either never ship you the item you paid for, or never pay you for the item you shipped them.
Fortunately, this Facebook Marketplace scam is super easy to avoid. If you’re a buyer, never pay for an item in advance and never agree to receive an item in the post. If you’re a seller, never agree to ship an item to a buyer and always make sure to receive the money at the same time you hand an item over to a buyer.
PayPal is a legitimate payment method for Facebook Marketplace transactions, and PayPal payments are protected by Facebook’s and PayPal’s Purchase Protection policies. BUT, the protection policies only cover regular PayPal payments — NOT payments you send using PayPal’s “friends and family” payment option.
In Facebook Marketplace PayPal scams, the scammers may try to get you to pay them as “friends and family,” using the excuse that they want to avoid the fees PayPal charges on regular payments.
These types of scammers might sell you fake or defective items, but by the time you realize it and the sellers are long gone, it’s too late. Since you made a friends and family payment, your purchase isn’t protected and you won’t be able to get a refund.
You might be able to find a great deal on a second-hand car on Facebook, but you should never put a deposit down on one. This is because there are lots of scammers out there perpetrating Facebook Marketplace car scams, in which they create fake posts about cars they’re selling and ask for a small deposit from interested buyers to “hold the car” for them.
The sellers then provide an address for you to meet them at and pick up your new car, but the address is either fake or the car and seller are nowhere to be seen and your deposit is long gone.
There are a few different kinds of Facebook Marketplace fake buyers you should be on the lookout for. For example, there are fake buyers who might try to get you to send them something you’re selling and promise to pay you when they receive it, but then never actually send you any money (see Facebook Marketplace shipping scams above).
There are also fake buyers who use Facebook Marketplace to commit in-person robberies. They agree to buy something from you and ask to meet up in a secluded place, then steal the item you’re selling and anything else of value you have on you.
To avoid getting robbed by a fake buyer on Facebook Marketplace, always do transactions in person, in a public, brightly-lit area with lots of other people around. For maximum security, ask buyers to meet you in front of a police station or somewhere where cops hang out and are visible.
There are also a variety of Facebook Marketplace fake sellers. They might run the same types of scams as fake buyers that we mentioned above (shipping scams or robbery), or they might be selling bootleg items or items that don’t work or aren’t in the condition advertised.
To avoid making a purchase that you regret, always inspect the item you’re buying thoroughly before you hand over any money to make sure it’s real and in good working order.
Anyone who uses Facebook Marketplace is at risk of falling victim to a Facebook Marketplace scam. Young kids, teenagers, and the elderly may be more at risk because they aren’t as familiar with the platform and with online scams in general.
There are two main ways to report a scam on Facebook Marketplace. See the instructions below to report either a buyer’s or seller’s Facebook Marketplace scam.
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