The 10 Worst Facebook Marketplace Scams

The Facebook Marketplace is a helpful platform for buying and selling pre-owned things as well as those that have been discarded. However, just like any other online marketplace, the service is infested with con artists that aim to take advantage of both the buyer and the seller. Let’s find out how they function, as well as how to identify them.

The Fraudulent Practices of Shipping Insurance

The Facebook Marketplace serves largely as a venue for in-person transactions to take place. In especially when it comes to peer-to-peer sales, you can think of it as being comparable to the classifieds section of a local newspaper. When selling an item of great value, it is recommended to only consider offers from purchasers in the immediate area who are willing to conduct the transaction in person.

One of the reasons for this is the growing number of instances of fraudulent shipping insurance claims. Con artists will pose as genuine customers who are willing to spend a significant amount of money (typically quoting $100 or more) for shipping via a service such as UPS. They will even go so far as to give you an invoice for the shipping costs, even if it is in the form of a fraudulent attachment or originates from a bogus email account.

This con is centered on the buyer asking you to pay for a “insurance cost” that they supposedly incurred. This is typically somewhere about $50, which may be a price that you (the buyer) find tolerable in order to sell a valuable item for the amount that you are asking for it. The con artist will steal your money after you have already submitted it to cover the insurance fee, and then they will move on to the next victim.

Because of the ubiquity of this fraud, going this way is fraught with risk, despite the fact that some real buyers may in fact be happy to pay for an item to be transported. At the absolute least, you ought to be aware that you should immediately cut off all contact if you are asked to pay any kind of additional “insurance” fee.

Those vendors who require prepayment for their goods or services

If you use Facebook Marketplace in the same way that you would use a classified ad, it will be easier for you to avoid becoming a victim of a scam. You should never pay for something that you intend to acquire in person before having the opportunity to first view (and examine) the item in question. Facebook’s Marketplace can be used by businesses in the United States in the same way that eCommerce websites are used, but the general public does not have access to this feature.

If a merchant asks you to pay in advance for an item that you have not physically examined, you should turn and run away. Even if the vendor demonstrates the item to you through video conference, you should still be wary about the transaction because you have no way of knowing whether or not the item is located in your region. If you are interested in purchasing an item, you should make arrangements to do so in a public place that is well-lit, and you should discuss and decide on a method of payment in advance.

If you want to avoid carrying around a significant amount of cash, try to come to an agreement on a cashless payment method instead, such as Facebook Pay, Venmo, or Cash App, if at all possible. Bring a friend with you and avoid gathering in isolated areas after dark if you want to maintain your peace of mind.

Customers and Vendors Who Complete the Transaction in a Different Venue

A desire to move the transaction away from Facebook entirely and into another platform, such as a chat app or email, is one of the obvious signs that the other person is trying to defraud you. It’s possible that the vendor is trying to cover their tracks by erasing any digital paper trail that could be used as evidence that they conned you out of money. Due to the fact that this ensures that very little to no proof of a fraud would be present on the service, the con artist is afforded some protection from having their accounts terminated by Facebook.

This could be useful information for either buyers or sellers. These con artists would frequently give out their email addresses to unsuspecting victims (or simply put it in the listing). You can conduct a search on the internet using this address to determine whether or not it has been reported by anybody else for engaging in suspicious behavior.

Listings for real houses and apartments that don’t exist

The COVID-19 pandemic breathed new life into Facebook rental frauds, giving them a second chance at success. During a period in which many people were subjected to lockdowns and instructions to remain inside their homes, it wasn’t always possible to leave the house and view a potential property in person. Even while regulations in various parts of the world are being loosened, the problem still exists, and you should, if at all possible, refrain from using Facebook to look for real estate.

Swindlers often take on the guise of real estate agents and landlords in order to deceive renters into paying them money by pretending to be them. They will tell you virtually anything in order to get you to hand over the money, and one of the most prevalent high-pressure selling strategies is to suggest that other renters are interested in the property and that you need to act quickly in order to secure a tenancy.

However, some con artists will go one step farther than uploading pictures of fake homes that they acquired online but have no link to in the real world. This is a common tactic used by many con artists. It’s possible that certain cons are so clever that they employ unoccupied homes that the con artist knows about. They may instruct you to personally inspect the property (either with or without them there), but if you are unable to enter the building, you should be suspicious that something is wrong.

Using reputable real estate search services to hunt for potential new homes is the most effective approach to avoid falling for this particular con. If you find yourself enticed by Facebook, you need to exercise caution to ensure that you are not being taken advantage of in any way. Be aware of profiles on Facebook that don’t appear to be authentic. You may do a reverse image search on profile images, and calling the numbers listed there will allow you to verify the information.

If the agent or landlord asserts that they represent a corporation or property trust, you should get in touch with that entity to confirm that they are who they say they are. Be wary if you are asked to pay a deposit via a peer-to-peer service such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or any other similar platform. And as a final piece of advice, remember one of the most important guidelines for shopping online: if a deal appears to be too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

Swindles involving the Automobile Deposit and the Protection of the Vehicle Purchase

The 10 Worst Facebook Marketplace Scams

Investing in something of great value, such as a smartphone, always comes with an element of danger; however, investing in something even more expensive, such as a car, has an even higher level of risk. Be wary of any sellers who require you to pay a deposit in order to hold a vehicle in their inventory, even if they guarantee that the cash will be refunded. Even the most shady store for used cars will let you go over the vehicle before you give over the money.

In a similar manner, some con artists try to add credibility to their ads by suggesting they would use real-world schemes such as eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection, which covers a transaction for up to $100,000. This is done in the hopes of fooling potential victims. This only applies to vehicles that are sold on eBay, thus it does not apply to Facebook Marketplace or other services that are similar.

Goods that have been stolen or are defective, particularly technology and bicycles

On Facebook Marketplace, there is no shortage of customers searching for a deal, and many con artists see this as an opportunity. Smartphones and laptop computers are always in high demand, but unfortunately, they are also among the items that are stolen the most frequently.

Consider the Apple iPhone as an illustration. Because Apple’s Activation Lock links each piece of hardware to a specific user account, a stolen iPhone is unlikely to be of any use to either the person selling it or the buyer it is being offered to. Before committing to the purchase of a previously owned iPhone, there are a variety of factors to investigate. The identical function can be found in MacBooks, and in addition, there is a check list that needs to be gone through before purchasing old Mac hardware.

A good many of the hints that are applicable to an Apple iPhone or MacBook are also applicable to Android cellphones and Windows laptops (outside of Apple-specific features, of course). This includes conducting exhaustive tests on the product before purchasing it, which requires gathering in a well-lit public area so that you may examine whatever it is that you are supposed to purchase.

A price that appears to be too good to be true is another red flag, even if the seller is seeking to make a speedy sale for a cause that appears to be perfectly legitimate. You shouldn’t buy something if you can’t examine it, touch it, make sure it’s not tied to another account, and check that it works as it should before you commit to buying it. If you have more information about a product, you will also have a greater understanding of the value proposition associated with that product.

In addition to other high-value things, bicycles are frequently taken by thieves. You will not only lose the item but also the money that you paid for it if you buy a bike that is afterwards claimed by the person who originally owned it. Ironically, Facebook is a wonderful location to look for lost or stolen items, including bicycles. Check for any “stolen bikes” groups in your neighborhood before you make a purchase to check if anybody else has reported the item as missing or stolen.

The Fraud using Gift Cards

Even though some vendors might be amenable to trading products, very few reputable sellers will actually accept gift cards as a form of payment. Because gift cards are anonymous, once you have handed them over there is no record of the transaction. This is in contrast to practically every other form of payment, where a record of the transaction is kept. It’s possible that you are “purchasing” an item, but the fact that the seller doesn’t want any record of the transaction indicates that something isn’t quite right about the situation.

This is not to be confused with another Facebook scam in which users are asked to fill out a form with all of their personal information in order to receive a discount code or gift card to a well-known retailer. Rather, this particular scam requires users to provide all of their personal information.

Identity Theft as well as the Gathering of Personal Information

Scammers are not only interested in obtaining your money; some of them will also settle for information about you or businesses set up in your name. This has the potential to backfire on both the buyer and the seller, particularly in the context of the “Google Voice” fraud.

When you are negotiating the terms of a transaction with the other party, they might ask you to “verify” your identity by providing a code. They will ask you your phone number, which you will then supply them. After that, they will send you a code to enter on your device (in this example, from Google). When you first sign up Google Voice, Google will ask you for this code so that it can authenticate your identity. Should you choose to share this code with the con artist, they will be able to use your phone number to create a Google Voice account or log into your existing account.

The con artist now possesses a real phone number that they can use for their own evil purposes, and that number is connected to the one you use in the real world (and identity). To confirm their identity, some con artists may simply ask for a wide variety of personal information from their victims, such as their date of birth and residence. This information could be used to open accounts in your name without your knowledge.

If you are selling something from your home and a possible buyer has agreed to come over to look at the item or perhaps buy the item, you should avoid giving out your entire address. Instead, you can provide the buyer with a general location, such as your street or a well-known landmark in the area, and then ask them to phone you when they are getting close to the precise address. This will prevent many con artists from wasting your time in the first place, which is the ultimate goal.

Fraudulent Attempts to Refund Overpayments

Be wary of buyers that offer to pay for an item without first seeing it if you’re the seller. This is another another variation of the fraudulent shipping insurance scheme, and it operates in a very comparable manner. A buyer will make it appear as though they are very interested in an item by claiming that they have already sent payment to cover the price of the item. Quite frequently, they will include a fabricated screenshot depicting the transaction along with this allegation.

The screenshot will make it very evident that the purchaser paid an excessive amount for the goods. They will then request that you, the seller, return a portion of the money that they have sent you, despite the fact that no money has actually been paid to you. This con has been seen all across the internet, but it is most prevalent in fake tech assistance services.

Plain and Simple Bogus Products

When purchasing something in person, it should not be too difficult to detect any fakes. Even if an item appears to be authentic upon closer scrutiny, it is frequently possible to tell that it is not genuine due to the use of lesser materials, minor defects, or worse packaging. However, con artists can use any image they want to market their wares if they do it online.

There aren’t many things you can do besides conduct a careful examination of a product before you purchase it. Be wary that some con artists will try to switch out your items for a version that is of worse quality, or they will simply market the genuine item but deliver you with a phony version of it.

Be especially wary of products such as headphones with well-known brand names, such as Beats and AirPods, as well as apparel and footwear, fashion accessories such as bags and handbags, sunglasses, fragrances and makeup, jewelry and watches, and other minor things. If something seems too good to be true, there’s a strong chance it is.

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Disclosure: Written and researched by the GGT crew. We spotlight services and products you may discover fascinating. If you happen to purchase them, we could get a small share of the income from the sale from our companions. We could obtain merchandise freed from cost from producers to test. This doesn't drive our resolution as to whether a product is featured or beneficial. We function independently from our promoting group. We welcome your suggestions. Please e-mail us at [email protected].

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