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Don‘t Let Scammers Fool You – How to Stay Safe on Facebook Marketplace

Hey there! Have you ever thought about selling some of your unwanted stuff on Facebook Marketplace to make a little extra cash? Or maybe you‘re looking for a sweet deal on used furniture or electronics?

Facebook Marketplace is an awesome way to buy and sell locally. Over 1 billion people use it to find bargains and earn income. I love scoring unique vintage decor and saving money furnishing my apartment.

But before you leap into Facebook Commerce, there‘s something you need to know – Marketplace is crawling with scammers!

According to a 2021 survey by Pindrop, a stunning 53% of Marketplace users said they‘ve encountered a scam. Yikes!

Luckily, I‘ve done tons of research into the latest Facebook Marketplace frauds and how to avoid them. Consider this your guide to not getting swindled so you can use Marketplace safely.

In this post, we‘ll cover:

  • The 18 most common Marketplace scams right now
  • Tips for spotting fraudulent buyers and sellers
  • Smart strategies to buy and sell safely
  • What to do if you get scammed
  • FAQs about protecting yourself on Marketplace

Let‘s dive in and make sure you don‘t get taken advantage of!

The 18 Sneakiest Facebook Marketplace Scams

Scammers use different tricks to target both buyers and sellers on Marketplace. Some even scam both parties at once!

I‘ll break down the most widespread Facebook frauds into categories based on who they victimize. Knowing these top scams can help you recognize the signs and avoid being manipulated.

9 Scams Aimed at Buyers

Watch out for these sneaky buyer scams while shopping for deals:

1. Fake Freebie Alerts 🚨

Got a message that you won a free iPhone or Walmart gift card? It‘s a total scam!

These fake giveaways try to get your personal info or download malware onto your device. Don‘t click any sketchy links – delete the message.

2. Bait and Switch 🎣

Ever found something listed for a suspiciously low price, only to have the seller say it‘s unavailable but they have something more expensive? That‘s called a bait and switch.

Sellers reel you in with a too-good-to-be-true price. But when you try to buy, they switch the item for a pricier one so they make more money. Sneaky!

3. Selling What They Don‘t Have πŸ™…β€β™€οΈ

In non-delivery scams, a seller advertises something but never ships it after you pay. They just take your money and run!

Only buy locally or use Marketplace‘s payment system. And don‘t pay upfront for expensive items.

4. Knock-Offs and Fakes πŸ€₯

Watch for sellers passing off cheap replicas as luxury brands. Check for logos, misspellings, or blurry photos that hide flaws. Ask for serial numbers or proof of authenticity.

If you suspect counterfeit goods, walk away!

5. Faulty or Broken Goods πŸ’”

Some dishonest sellers pawn off defective items online without disclosing issues. Or they damage your purchase and lie so they can keep both your money and the product.

Inspect expensive purchases in-person before paying. And record yourself opening packages.

6. Fake Rentals 🏚️

Need a new apartment? Rental scams on Marketplace advertise places that don‘t exist or aren‘t actually available. They try to get application fees and deposits from interested renters.

Never apply or pay for a rental you haven‘t seen in person with a verified landlord. A good deal isn‘t worth being homeless!

7. Vehicle Deposit Scams πŸš—

Scammers list hot cars online to get buyers emotionally invested. Then they trick you into making a cash "deposit" to hold the car. But it‘s already sold or never existed. Bye-bye deposit!

Don‘t pay or give personal info to "reserve" something. And check VIN numbers to confirm ownership before buying.

8. Gift Card Payment Requests πŸ’³

It‘s always a scam if a seller demands payment with gift cards! Why? Because gift card payments can‘t be traced or reversed.

Laugh in the scammer‘s face and take your business elsewhere if they won‘t accept secure payments.

9. Malicious Links πŸ”—

Watch for sellers asking you to click links to "verify your account" or "process your order." These lead to phishing sites to get your data or download malware.

Never click third-party links from sellers. Keep everything within the Facebook platform.

9 Sneaky Scams Targeting Sellers

Sellers encounter lots of scams too. Here are some of the most common:

10. Fake Lost Package Claims πŸ“¦

Dishonest buyers scam you by claiming the item you shipped never arrived. But they actually got it and demand a refund while keeping your merchandise.

Always ship with tracking and signature confirmation. And check delivery before refunds.

11. Overpayment Scams πŸ’²

A buyer says they "accidentally" paid too much and asks you to wire back the difference. But their initial payment is bogus, so you‘d be transferring your own money.

Never ever wire money to buyers or send refunds before payments clear fully. Immediately report overpayments.

12. Return Shipping Label Trickery 🚚

Sketch buyers send back products with fake return shipping labels so packages get "lost" during return delivery. Then they keep seeking refunds!

Only provide prepaid return labels you create yourself. And require a receipt confirming delivery.

13. Handing Over Your Phone Number πŸ“±

Giving out your phone number allows scammers to reroute your 2FA and hack accounts. They‘ll make up reasons why they "need" it.

Refuse to provide your number. Keep all communications on Facebook Messenger.

14. Pushing You Off Facebook 🚫

If a buyer tries getting you to email them or use payment apps, it‘s so transactions occur off Facebook‘s protected platform. Big red flag!

Insist on using Marketplace messaging and payments only. Block buyers who try to go around them.

15. Fake Buyer Accounts 😝

Scammers open Marketplace accounts with no photo, history, or friends. Then they scam sellers and ditch the account.

Double check profiles. Don‘t sell big ticket items to sketch accounts.

16. Shipping Before Payment πŸ’Έ

Scammers posing as buyers convince sellers to mail items before getting paid. Sneaky!

Never send purchases until you have payment in hand and confirmed. Make buyers pay first.

17. Verification Code Tricks πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈ

Giving out the codes texted to you lets scammers set up accounts under your number to commit further fraud. Watch for buyers asking for "identity verification."

Never ever share verification codes sent to your phone or email under any circumstances.

18. Clicking Sus Links πŸ”—

Scammers say you need to click a link to confirm delivery, submit forms, etc. The links are malicious – don‘t click!

Stay in Messenger and don‘t open random links from buyers. Links sent in messages could be phishing scams. Delete them.

Dangers for Both Parties

A few big Marketplace scams endanger both buyers and sellers:

  • Fake accounts – No photo, friends, or transaction history signals imposters.
  • Shipping first – Never send items without confirmed payment.
  • Personal info requests – Giving out your phone, address, etc. enables ID theft.
  • Suspicious links – Links can install malware or steal financial data.

Now that you know the most prevalent Facebook commerce scams to watch for, let‘s talk about staying secure.

Is Facebook Marketplace Safe to Use?

Given how many Marketplace scams exist, you might be wondering if it‘s safe to use at all.

The answer is yes – if you take precautions. Facebook does have some safety measures in place, like:

However, scams still run rampant. You could encounter fraud even when following guidelines. While convenient, Marketplace requires wariness.

The FBI reported over 35,000 complaints of Facebook Marketplace fraud in 2020 totaling over $28 million in losses.

And a2022 AARP study revealed 42% of seller scams involved supposed buyers sending fake checks. Proof you need to be extremely cautious.

So is Marketplace safe? I‘d say it can be if you know what to watch for and take steps to protect yourself. Let‘s discuss that now!

Follow These Tips to Avoid Facebook Marketplace Scams

Staying vigilant is crucial for safe Marketplace transactions. Here are my top tips to avoid scams:

βœ… Vet buyers and sellers – Check profiles carefully and leave if anything seems sketchy.

βœ… Meet locally for big purchases – Inspect expensive items in person before paying.

βœ… Only use Marketplace payments – Never pay with apps, wire transfers, etc.

βœ… Don‘t give out your number – Refuse to provide your phone number to buyers.

βœ… Don‘t ship before payment – Only mail sold items after payment is received.

βœ… Review payment confirmations – Verify funds fully cleared before shipping.

βœ… Keep all records – Save communications in case of disputes over fraud.

βœ… Watch for red flags – Back out if they seem pushy, ask favors, give sob stories.

βœ… Trust your gut – Leave if anything feels off. You can always find another deal.

Marketplace still requires wariness and skepticism even when following best practices. If an offer seems fake, it probably is. Don‘t let the desire for a bargain overrule your common sense.

I also recommend taking these extra precautions outside Marketplace:

  • Install antivirus software – Extra protection if you click suspicious links.

  • Use a password manager – Generates strong passwords scammers can‘t guess.

  • Turn on two-factor authentication – Extra login security everywhere.

  • Monitor your credit reports – Catch fraud and identity theft fast.

  • Sign up for ID theft protection – More layers of monitoring and restoration help.

Following this advice reduces chances of being scammed. But occasionally, swindlers may still slip through. Let‘s review what to do if you become a victim.

Taken for a Ride? How to Recover When Scammed

First, don‘t panic or beat yourself up! Scammers are sneaky and the best of us sometimes get fooled.

If you‘ve been scammed, act fast to limit the damage:

πŸ”» Report it to Facebook – File a complaint with details and evidence. Trying to get accounts deactivated.

πŸ”» Issue a chargeback – If you paid by credit card, request a chargeback through the issuer immediately.

πŸ”» Place fraud alerts – Put 90-day fraud alerts on your credit reports to prevent new accounts.

πŸ”»Reset passwords – Change passwords on all accounts if the scammer got your info. Enable two-factor authentication too.

πŸ”» Contact agencies – File complaints with the FTC and Internet Crime Complaint Center.

πŸ”» Sign up for credit monitoring – A service like LifeLock or Aura helps detect any new fraud.

You‘ll also want to watch statements closely for signs of continued misuse of your info. And consider an identity theft protection service that provides monitoring and restoration assistance.

How to Report Buyer Fraud to Facebook

To report a scammy buyer on Marketplace:

  1. Open the item listing where the transaction took place.
  2. Click the buyer‘s name.
  3. Select the three dots icon next to their name.
  4. Choose "Report Buyer."
  5. Select "They are scamming people or otherwise acting fraudulently."
  6. Explain how they scammed you.

Submit any evidence you have like screenshots of conversations.

Reporting Seller Scams to Facebook

If a seller defrauds you, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the fraudulent seller‘s Marketplace listing.
  2. Click the seller‘s name.
  3. Click the three dots icon.
  4. Select "Report Seller."
  5. Choose "They are scamming people or otherwise acting fraudulently."
  6. Provide details about how they scammed you.

Again, share evidence to help Facebook investigate.

After reporting, watch for any potential misuse of your information and consider extra identity protection. You‘ll sleep better knowing you did all you could!

Your FAQs on Facebook Marketplace Safety Answered

You probably still have some questions about safely buying and selling. Let‘s tackle some frequently asked questions:

How does Facebook Marketplace work?

  • Sellers list items for sale directly through their Facebook account. Interested buyers message them through Facebook Messenger to ask questions and negotiate purchases. Once payment is received, the seller ships the item. All communication and payments happen on Facebook for security and fraud protection.

What is the safest payment method on Marketplace?

  • Paying directly through Facebook Checkout is the most secure option. It keeps payment within Facebook‘s system where transactions are protected and refundable. Avoid external apps, wire transfers, checks, and cash that are riskier.

Can Facebook Marketplace sellers get scammed?

  • Unfortunately yes. Scammers target sellers through chargebacks, return shipping scams, claiming items weren‘t delivered, and more. Following best practices like vetting buyers, shipping with tracking, and avoiding off-platform payments reduces risks.

I got scammed. Can I get my money back?

  • If you paid via Facebook Checkout, you can dispute the charges and request a refund through Facebook by reporting fraud with evidence. If you paid another way, try requesting a chargeback from your credit card company or filing a complaint with the FTC. But there are no guarantees you‘ll recoup losses when paying outside Facebook‘s protected ecosystem.

I hope these answers help you feel more prepared to sidestep scams! Let‘s wrap this up.

Let‘s Make Facebook Marketplace Safer for Everyone

While Facebook Marketplace is infested with scammers, you can avoid getting stung by being informed and vigilant.

Knowing the most common techniques fraudsters use allows you to recognize the signs and walk away from shady dealings. Following best practices for payments, shipping, and vetting buyers also provides protection.

Of course, you could still encounter dishonest buyers and sellers, even when taking precautions. Use good judgment and don‘t let the desire for a bargain override your common sense.

And remember, reporting scams when they happen helps Facebook strengthen their protections and make the platform more secure for everyone. We all have a role to play in keeping our communities safe!

The bottom line: With knowledge, preparation, and care, Facebook Marketplace can be an awesome place to score deals and earn cash without getting ripped off. I hope these tips help you shop and sell smart so we can shut down scammers for good.

Stay safe out there and happy deal hunting!


Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.