10+ Facebook Marketplace Scams To Look Out For In 2023
And How To Avoid Them
Selling and buying from online marketplaces are great ways to find unique and affordable items. But there is a chance that you can get scammed if you’re not careful. Online marketplaces like Facebook are amazing resources, and the fear of getting scammed shouldn’t stop you from finding your next favorite item or making some extra money with a side hustle.
I have been an active reseller for over three years and have sold hundreds of items. So, let’s get 11 Facebook Marketplace scams to avoid in 2023!
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A very common scam, not just with Facebook but with many reselling platforms, is buying fake items. Sellers will advertise products that are counterfeit or simply don’t exist. So, when you purchase it, you will receive a knock-off brand or nothing at all.
This scam actually happened to me with one of my first purchases from a reselling platform. Looking back, I should’ve noticed the low price for such an expensive brand! You can also look for reviews too if you’re worried about receiving fake items. . . or not items at all!
Scammers will send a message or email pretending to be Facebook or another legitimate company to steal personal information. I have worked as a freelancer for many years and have definitely had to sort through my fair share of phishing scams.
A great way to tell if an important notification is real or not is to see if there are any typos in the username/email. You can also click on the notification on Facebook; if there are few followers, it’s a scam. You can also check your support center to see if there are any violations you’ve made.
Simply log in, then click on your profile picture. After that, click “Help & Support” (should be two options below your profile picture), then click support inbox. Your essential notifications will be there!
Sometimes, you may encounter a seller or buyer who wants to request or receive money through unconventional or non-secure methods. Instead of using PayPal, Facebook Pay, or another platform offering buyer protection, another payment method is brought up. This method could be a wire transfer, cashier’s check, money order, or cryptocurrency.
Instead of going along with it, you can put your foot down or tell the buyer/seller that you’re no longer interested in working with them. Pretty easy to avoid!
These types of Facebook Marketplace scams are also common in the freelance world and are most common with checks. If you sell an item for $500, the buyer will overpay. In this case, let’s say $1,500. So, you receive and cash the seemingly legitimate check (first red flag, as mentioned earlier!). But then the buyer will urgently contact you and request a partial refund of the accidental extra $1,000.
You then send back the $1,000 only to notice a few days later that the check bounced, and you’re out a $500 item and the $1,000 you sent them.
To avoid this, don’t accept checks! If you make an exception for a nice person but then receive a much more significant amount than agreed on, don’t cash it and assume you won’t be paid for your item.
Meetup Safety Risks
Meeting up in person is always risky, especially for women. But there are some ways to be safer when meeting a stranger.
Always meet up in public during the day! While this won’t eliminate risk, it definitely puts you in a safer situation than meeting at a house. You can also bring a friend or family member for extra safety measures. It’s better to be paranoid and safe than oblivious and in danger.
Although receiving a stolen good isn’t very common, it can be an incredibly dangerous Facebook Marketplace scam you should be aware of. The scammers seem like ordinary people and will create an attractive listing, a great price, and a believable profile. You’ll meet up with the seller and pay them for the product, only to be contacted by the original owner of the stolen goods. Buying a stolen good could lead to an investigation and potential legal trouble against you.
To avoid this scam, ask questions about the history of the item. Don’t receive cash payment (if you catch the payment fraud scam, you can easily avoid this one!), and make sure that the seller has a successful history of transactions. If an item sounds too good to be true, it most likely is!
Advance Fee Scams
This scam is similar to the overpayment scam, as you will pay the scammer and not receive a product. The seller will ask for an upfront fee before delivering or meeting up with you for the promised item.
To avoid this scam, don’t pay using a method that doesn’t offer buyer protection (don’t pay using cash, check, cryptocurrency etc.). A lot of times, scammers will create pressure to get you to give them money. This pressure could be to hurry and send the fee to claim it, or it will go to someone else. Don’t fall for it, and move on.
Unfortunately, this can be among the most common Facebook Marketplace scams. Sellers will claim to ship an item but actually don’t after receiving payment. There isn’t much you can do after this point.
So, research the seller, the product, and their transaction history. How long has their profile been active? How many reviews do they have, and do they sound similar? Trust your instinct and report the seller if this happens to you.
When I was a college student, I fell victim to this scam, along with the fake item scam. So, I learned to pay excellent attention to reviews! How far apart were the reviews made? If you can check the reviewer’s profile, how legitimate do they appear? Are there any typos?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, trust your gut and move on. The risk of potentially receiving a legit item isn’t worth it.
This scam doesn’t just apply to Facebook Marketplace, but it applies to social media in general. Scammers will ask for your login information and say they need it to send you your item. But, instead, they will hack into your account!
At this point, there isn’t much you can do. Facebook’s support is almost nonexistent for account hacking. But there is a way to avoid it. Don’t ever give out your login credentials! This safety tip includes clicking links and the website asking for your Facebook credentials.
Price inflation isn’t just a Facebook Marketplace scam but a widespread reselling scam. People will sell items at a much higher price than what they’re worth. Price inflation takes advantage of desperate buyers while simply being unethical.
You can always ask the seller for more information about the product and even more pictures. If they avoid the questions or send photos that seem highly edited or with a different product, move on! Your time, energy, and money are better used elsewhere.
Conclusion – Facebook Marketplace Scams
While there are many scammers out there that are getting more and more creative, it shouldn’t stop you from using the fantastic resource of reselling platforms. You can find amazing items, and you can try reselling as a side hustle for yourself.
Make sure you:
- Research the seller and product thoroughly
- Use secure payment methods within the Facebook Marketplace platform
- Trust your instincts. If something seems off, walk away
- Meet in well-lit, public places for in-person transactions
- Report suspicious activity to Facebook
- Be cautious about sharing personal information
- Verify the authenticity of high-value items
- Look for common signs of scams, like unrealistic prices and poor grammar in the listing.
Safety and due diligence are essential when using online reselling platforms like Facebook Marketplace!