How Facebook Marketplace Scams Work

Facebook Marketplace is one of the biggest retailers of used goods online today. Although there are advantages to using the Marketplace – like making money by selling your used items or finding a used item at a bargain price – the site is also home to fraudulent buyers and sellers and others attempting to steal your identity.

How Facebook Marketplace Scams Work

In this article you will learn about how Facebook Marketplace scams work, the type of scams you might find on the site, and what to look for when using the Marketplace for any reason.

How to Tell if You’re Being Scammed

These are some of the red flags to look out for if you are buying or selling goods on Facebook Marketplace:

  • Items selling for way less than they should
  • The seller won’t meet you in person
  • People wanting to talk outside of Facebook
  • Sellers asking you to pay them with a gift card
  • Vendors seeking a deposit before sending the item
  • Buyers requesting an item be shipped before paying
  • Users asking for personal information
  • Sellers who lack a profile picture

Common Facebook Scams Targeting Buyers

These are some scams you should look out for if you’re thinking about buying items from the Marketplace:

1. Fake giveaways

You may get a message that says you’ve won a gift card or some type of product and all you have to do is follow a link to fill out a survey. Those are attempts to get your information or gain the ability to install malware onto your device.

2. Bait and Switch

Have you found something on Marketplace ad that you’ve been looking for and it’s at an amazing price? But when you ask about its availability, it’s gone but they can sell you a more expensive one? This is a scam.

3. Counterfeit products

This is where people try to sell you knock-off items. They want you to believe that you’re buying an expensive name-brand item, but when you get it, it’s just a cheap imitation. Make sure to ask for proof of authenticity before purchasing anything.

4. Faulty items

This one is especially popular when dealing with electronics. You should always try to test the product before you buy it. If possible, meet with the seller somewhere public to try it out or ask for a video of the product in working order.

5. Fake house rentals

Sometimes a property is listed for rent, but it turns out the lister doesn’t own it. Make sure you check with a trusted source that the property is in fact legit. Rentals, for the most part, are usually cross-listed.

Common Facebook Scams Targeting Sellers

These are some scams you should look out for if you’re thinking about selling items on the Marketplace:

1. Lost package

Some scammers will purchase an item and then say they never got the product, a claim that protects them from losing money. As a seller, paying to have an item tracked and receiving a signed confirmation of receipt is more expensive but it could help you in the long run.

2. Overpayment

This happens when a buyer “accidentally” pays more money for an item and then asks you for the extra amount back. The bank discovers the payment method is fraudulent and cancels the whole transaction. Meanwhile, you’ve sent them actual money to cover the “overpayment.”

3. Using stolen cards for payment

You should use cash, PayPal, or Facebook to pay for items because they are Facebook-approved and you’ll receive the money. Accepting Venmo, CashApp, etc. could leave you without money.

4. Prepaid shipping label

Don’t use prepaid shipping labels. The buyer can say they never received the product, and you’d lose your money. Make sure as the seller you have control over verifying delivery.

5. QR codes

These could direct you to phishing sites. Once you put your information in, sensitive data can be retrieved.

Common Facebook Scams Targeting Both Buyers and Sellers

These are some scams both buyers and sellers should look out for:

1. Fake accounts

Look for profiles with no photos, few friends, and those who are relatively new. Check out their accounts to discover their buying/selling history and see if their “friends” are actually bots.

2. Sending an item before payment

Never send anything out that hasn’t been paid for no matter what the reasons.

3. Asking you to click a link for more information

This is a phishing scam and one that you should avoid. Never click a link from an untrusted source.

4. Asking for your phone number

A hacker can access your account with just your name and phone number. Stay on Messenger for all your transactions and never share private information.

How to Avoid Facebook Scams

There is always a possibility of getting scammed but there are ways to protect yourself. The following list are ways to ensure your safety when using the Marketplace.

  • Review your credit card and bank statements regularly.
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Look at the seller’s reviews.
  • Only communicate on Facebook.
  • Use two-factor authentication.
  • Use a trusted payment method.
  • If necessary, meet in a public place.
  • Bring anything you need to make sure the product works.

What to Do if You Are Scammed

This is what you should do if you need to Report a Buyer for a Scam:

  1. Open the listing.
  2. Find the buyer’s name.”
  3. Select “Report Buyer.”
  4. Select “Scam” and then follow the rest of the instructions.

This is what you should do to Report a Seller for a scam:

  1. Open the listing.
  2. Tap on the seller.
  3. Select “Report Seller.”
  4. Select “Scam” and follow the instructions.


Is Facebook Marketplace safe?

It can be a safe space to buy and sell goods, as long as you’re taking the right precautions.

How does the Marketplace work?

A seller will list an item, a buyer will contact them if they’re interested in purchasing the item, you’ll agree on a price, the seller will deliver the item, and the buyer will pay for it.

Can you go to Facebook for help?

Facebook Help has pages set up to help you if you’ve been scammed.

Protect Yourself

Protecting yourself is important if you’re spending time online, especially if you’re buying or selling items on a platform. Keeping yourself safe on social media requires a few steps, but they’re definitely worth it in the end. If you’re putting yourself out there on the internet, taking the proper precautions and preparing yourself is extremely important.

Have you used Facebook Marketplace to buy or sell goods? Did you have a good experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

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