How to Protect Yourself from Facebook Marketplace Online Scams
Over 200 countries and regions had one billion monthly Facebook Marketplace users by the beginning of 2021. You can use your Facebook account to purchase and sell things on Facebook Marketplace.
The Marketplace is excellent for locating anything from a new living place to pre-owned high-end items. In 2020, it became immensely successful when it began charging no fees to sellers.
Scammers are increasingly focusing on the Facebook Marketplace, just like any other marketplace. Facebook Marketplace is unique among online marketplaces because it relies solely on personal interactions between buyers and sellers.
Your interaction with the potential victim begins as soon as a purchaser contacts you, offering con artists an excellent opportunity to convince you to fall for their scam. They’re getting sneakier, too, so you need to know what to look for if something seems off.
This article will go through some of the more prevalent frauds on Facebook Marketplace and how to avoid falling victim to them.
Conspiracy Against Google Voice
Con artists are leveraging Facebook Marketplace to commit fraud on other websites. Scammers will say they want to buy something from you but need your mobile number to “check” that you are human before they agree to meet you in person. It is a reasonable request, looking back. However, they then ask for the activation code sent to your phone.
They will try to use your phone number to make a Google Voice call if you provide them with the verification code. They can commit fraud or illegal behavior using your genuine phone number that is now linked to their incorrect Google Voice number.
Suppose the con artist has access to your Facebook account. In that case, they may use it to acquire personal details about you and then use that information to impersonate you and gain access to your other online accounts or even create new ones.
A Fraud Using Zelle
Zelle, a peer-to-peer fund transfer service that allows instant transactions, has become one of the most widely known payment methods for Facebook Marketplace local deals. Since these deals can’t be undone, con artists can easily take advantage of them.
A con artist will pretend to want to buy something from you and offer to pay in advance so that they may store it until their partner can come and get it. There are several permutations of this con, but they all involve convincing you that switching to a business profile requires you to Zelle the “purchaser” additional funds.
Here’s an example: a scammer poses as a Zelle employee in an email, telling you that a payment is waiting in your account but that the purchaser needs to contribute $200 to “allow your acct to business” because otherwise, the cash will be lost. The con artist will then try to pressure you into sending them another $200 via Zelle because their first money is “locked up.”
Zelle doesn’t provide security against fraudulent transfers. It’s important to remember that Zelle doesn’t offer any protection against fraudulent transfers. It’s important to remember that Zelle doesn’t provide any security against fraudulent transfers. If you receive an email from someone like firstname.lastname@example.org, they most likely use AOL or Gmail.
False Claims Act in the Supply Chain (For Sellers)
Scammers also frequently use the “shipping scam” on Facebook Marketplace. The con artist will say they want to buy something, but then they’ll request you to send it to them. Also, they will demand payment via Venmo or Paypal and might even email you a fake screenshot as “payment made.”
You’ll find out too late that the money was never received after you’ve shipped the item, and there won’t be any recourse if this happens to you. Only take payments via methods that protect you as the seller, like PayPal or a credit card, if you’re sending something out.
Avoid making purchases with “friends and family” on PayPal because you receive no protection. Furthermore, get tracking details for your shipment and wait to send the product until the cash has cleared.
False Claims Act in the Supply Chain (For Buyers)
Another common shipping scam on Facebook is a fraudster posing as a vendor and offering an unbelievable deal on a product that isn’t even accessible in your region. After you agree to purchase the item, they’ll offer to ship it to you and request payment via PayPal or Venmo.
The imposter then provides USPS tracking information and tells you to check back in 24 to 48 hours for an update. You discover the tracking number is invalid or doesn’t work after 48 hours.
This con takes on a new dimension when the fraudster sends a worthless item to “you” but to a location in the same city.
You will receive an email stating that your order has arrived even if it has yet to be delivered. If the seller believes the product was “delivered” before they received it, they will ignore your attempts to fix the issue.
Avoid being taken in by this scam by checking the vendor’s profile and ratings properly. Use Facebook’s in-house payment system rather than a separate service.
Scammers will also use popular products as an enticement by creating fraudulent listings for them with stolen images and low pricing. Once you initiate contact with the “seller,” they will provide you a link to finalize your transaction on a site like eBay or Amazon.
In most cases, the link will be disguised to create the impression that you are being directed to a legitimate website when you are being directed to a scam website designed to steal your credit card information. You may also be asked to make an irrevocable payment by wire transfer or a gift card.
You can avoid falling victim to this con by only purchasing from people you associate with or from trusted online retailers. If you’re suspicious of an ad, you can check to see if the photographs were stolen by conducting a reverse image search. By visiting their profile, you can determine if the seller is new or has additional postings.
Scam on Chargeback
Sellers who offer shipping services are vulnerable to this fraud. The fraudster has paid for your product, and you have already dispatched it. A few days later, your Facebook account is minus $20 in addition to the original purchase price. The worst aspect is that your claim was never even opened, and you never got the option to appeal.
The fraudster reported the transaction as “product not delivered” or “product not specified” with their bank or credit card company. Facebook’s rules precluded them from receiving compensation for their loss. The bank decides whether to impose the chargeback cost of $20.
This fraud is difficult to avoid, but if it does, it’s essential to document everything that happened by taking screenshots and then reporting the incident to Facebook’s support team. You can enhance the likelihood that they will repay you by following up with them repeatedly over three months.
A Scam Using Prepaid Shipping Labels
This scam has recently gained traction on Facebook Marketplace. This fraudster claims they can provide you with a prepaid mailing label. It is commonly done for expensive-to-ship, bulky equipment like computer displays.
In this con, the fraudster claims to have utilized a label-generating service, so you must print off the label, cut it out, and stick it on the package. The fraudster awaits your shipment before contacting the shipping company to alter the delivery address.
The con artist will call you to claim they never got your shipment. Have your packing slips to prevent falling for this scam. Use a shipping business, such as UPS, if the product is too bulky to send.
The right thing to do if you fall prey to a Facebook market scam is to contact Facebook for assistance and, if necessary, the authorities. These precautions will assist you and others in falling prey to scammers on the Facebook marketplace.
Facebook Marketplace is a relatively new platform and has yet to be fully regulated. It means that scammers can take advantage of unsuspecting buyers and sellers. The Private Investigation Agency advises protecting yourself from being scammed on Facebook Marketplace.