Facebook Marketplace Scams: How to Avoid Fraud and Shop Safely

August 21st · 9 min read

Guardio Research Team
Guardio Research Team

Facebook Marketplace is a great way to buy and sell locally, but it can also be a hotbed for scammers. In this guide, we'll teach you how to avoid fraud and protect yourself while shopping on Facebook Marketplace. We'll explain why Marketplace has become such an attractive target for scammers, show you how to recognize the most common scams, and help you shop safely without fear of being scammed.

If you're looking to buy or sell on Facebook Marketplace, here's what you need to know about avoiding scams.

Why Is Facebook Marketplace a Scammer's Dream?

There are a few reasons why scammers love using Facebook Marketplace. First, it's incredibly easy to set up a fake account on Facebook. All a scammer needs is an email address and they can create a profile using any name and photo they want. This makes it very difficult for victims to track down the scammer or report them to authorities.

Second, transactions on Facebook Marketplace are conducted entirely through private messages. This means there is no public record of the transaction, making it harder for victims to get their money back or dispute the charges.

Finally, Facebook Marketplace is a local marketplace, meaning buyers and sellers often meet in person to complete the transaction. This makes it easy for scammers to take the money and run without delivering the product.

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Low price items

A common scam on Marketplace is listing an item for sale at an incredibly low price. For example, a brand new iPhone might be listed for $100. The scammer's goal is to get buyers to send them money before they realize that the item is fake or doesn't exist.

Bogus listings

Another popular scam is creating bogus listings for nonexistent items. The scammer will post a photo of a high-end item like a designer handbag or a new car and list it at an unbeatable price. They'll then message interested buyers and ask for payment through Venmo, PayPal, or another online service. Once the buyer sends the money, the scammer will block them and disappear.

Fake transactions

Scammers will also often create fake transactions in order to get your money. They'll message you saying that they've already sent you the money for the item you're selling and ask you to ship the item as soon as possible. Once you've shipped the item, you'll realize that the transaction was never completed, and you've lost both the item and the money.

Fake profiles

Another common scam is creating fake profiles to lure in victims. The scammer will create a profile using someone else's name and photos, usually of an attractive person. They'll then reach out to people on Marketplace and try to get them to send money for bogus transactions or nonexistent items.

Offering giveaways that are too good to be true

A common scam on Marketplace is offering giveaways that are too good to be true. The scammer will post about an amazing giveaway, like a free iPhone or a trip to Hawaii. They'll then message people and ask them to send money in order to enter the contest. Of course, there is no contest, and the scammer will simply keep the money for themselves.

Selling faulty or poor condition items

Another popular scam is selling items that are faulty or in poor condition. The scammer will list an item like a TV or a laptop and include photos that make the item look new and perfect. But when the buyer receives the item, they'll realize that it's damaged, used, or doesn't work properly.

Demanding to mail items only

Many scammers will refuse to meet in person, instead insisting that buyers must ship items. This is because it's harder to get scammed when you're meeting someone in person. By insisting on shipping, the scammer can simply take your money and never send the item.

Asking for too much personal information

When messaging buyers or sellers on Marketplace, be wary of anyone who asks for too much personal information. Scammers will often ask for your full name, address, and date of birth in order to commit identity theft. They may also try to get your bank account or credit card number under the guise of wanting to pay you directly.

Requiring deposits or prepayment

Be wary of anyone who requires a deposit or prepayment before meeting in person. This is a common tactic used by scammers to get your money without ever having to deliver the product.

Using stolen credit cards for payment

Another common scam is using stolen credit cards for payment. The scammer will message you and say that they want to buy your item. They'll then ask you to ship the item before they've paid, saying that they'll send you the money as soon as they receive it. Of course, the credit card they're using is stolen, so you'll never receive the payment, and you'll be left with an expensive item.

Asking to pay via Western Union or Moneygram

Never accept payments via Western Union or Moneygram. These services are often used by scammers because they're untraceable and irreversible. This means that even if you do receive a payment, there's no guarantee that it's not fraudulent.

Sending extra money and then asking for a refund

Scammers will often send you extra money and then ask for a refund. They'll message you saying that they accidentally sent too much money and ask you to wire them back the difference. Of course, the original payment was probably fraudulent, so you'll never see that money again.

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Asking you to ship before they pay

A common scam on Marketplace is asking you to ship before they pay. The scammer will message you and say that they want to buy your item. They'll then ask you to ship the item before they've paid, saying that they'll send you the money as soon as they receive it. Of course, the payment never comes, and you're left without your item or the money.

Sending you a prepaid shipping label

In this scam, buyers claim to have a preferred shipping method and offer a prepaid shipping label. After you send out the package, they call the delivery company to reroute it. Then they claim they never received the item. Without tracking information, you can't prove they received it, leaving you without the item and unpaid.

What To Do If You Get Ripped Off On Facebook Marketplace

If you do get scammed on Facebook Marketplace, the best thing to do is report it to Facebook. You can also file a police report, but unfortunately, there's not much they can do since the scammer is usually located in another country. You can also contact your bank or credit card company if you've given out any financial information.

The best way to avoid getting scammed on Facebook Marketplace is to be aware of the most common scams. If someone is asking for too much personal information, trying to pay via Western Union or Moneygram, or asking you to ship before they pay, be wary and don't hesitate to report them to Facebook. By following these tips, you can shop safely on Facebook Marketplace and avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

How To Protect Yourself From Facebook Scammers

Be careful when using online marketplaces like the Facebook Marketplace. Scammers often try to take advantage of people by stealing their identities or defrauding them. Make sure you are careful when interacting with people, and be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior.

Get useful security tools

Browser extensions are great for increasing your online security. Guardio provides solutions to help with new security concerns, develop a highly secure environment, and improve internet surfing. Users are safeguarded while they surf the web thanks to the Guardio Browser plugin. Browsers have evolved into our de facto operating system in our daily lives. In this new world, we require a specialized solution to keep us safe. Guardio is the initial line of protection in this case.

Immediately decline any overpayments

If someone claims to have accidentally overpaid you, do not wire them back the difference. It is likely that the original payment was fraudulent and you will never see that money again.

Watch out for prepaid shipping labels

A common scam is when someone sends you a prepaid shipping label in order to get you to ship an item before they've paid. Be wary of this type of behavior and do not ship anything until you have received payment.

Report any suspicious behavior

If you come across any suspicious behavior, make sure to report it to Facebook or your local authorities. By being vigilant, we can all help to reduce the amount of fraud and scams on online platforms like Facebook Marketplace.

Protect your devices before you get any suspicious activity

Unlike traditional solutions that only remove threats once they are on your device, Guardio proactively discovers dangers before they reach your browser and cause harm. Avoid downloading malware and becoming a victim of scams by protecting yourself from online browsing and information. You may go about your internet activities without hesitation or question, knowing that you are safe from viruses and frauds.

Be aware of harmful sites

Hackers employ fraudulent websites to trick people into disclosing personal information and gaining access to their devices. These sites are frequently exposed when individuals click on strange links in emails, social media scams, popups, or advertisements. Hackers do a fantastic job disguising these domains, but Guardio does a better job revealing the truth. Rather than just utilizing blacklists like other security solutions, Guardio's protection staff develops bespoke in-house tools to enhance phishing and other fraudulent site identification.

Cleanup Unwanted Notifications

Notifications and popups are more than just irritating advertising. They're distracting, potentially dangerous, and might be an indication of malware infection on your phone. Because websites that distribute them frequently link to networks of suspicious malware-spreading origins, you can't expect to eliminate one to avoid seeing it again. Guardio recognizes the source of the notifications and removes them as soon as feasible. To ensure that these interactions and interruptions don't occur in the first place, Guardio keeps track of them.

Removing a malicious add-on

Add-ons have the potential to steal your login information, install adware or other types of malware, and cause significant damage to your system. Malicious extensions do not always appear malicious. You may not even be aware that they're on your computer since they frequently disguise as helpful tools like PDF converters or weather applications when, in reality, they attempt to change your browser settings, install malware, and/or notify you. Guardio scans for and removes such add-ons from your device before they are installed.

Make your browser safe

When you look something up on the internet, your browser usually uses the default search engine. Some programs that are not good for your computer may be able to change this setting to a search engine that is less well-known. This process of changing your browser's original search engine and then restoring it to normal is called "search hijacking." The Guardio Browser Security program returns your browser's default search engine to its standard position so that you can safely browse online without having to worry about this happening.

Final thoughts

To avoid becoming a victim of a Facebook Marketplace scam, there are a few steps you can take:

  • Install Guardio, which will proactively protect you from online threats and scams.

  • Be aware of harmful sites, and don't click on links from unknown sources.

  • Clean up unwanted notifications by removing them as soon as they appear.

  • Remove any malicious add-ons that may have been installed on your device.

  • Make sure your browser's default search engine is in its normal position.

Protect yourself from Facebook Marketplace scams

Guardio is a Chrome extension that monitors suspicious activity and blocks hackers from stealing your data.

How protected are you online?

Protect yourself from Facebook Marketplace scams & other online threats, start your free 7-day trial today.

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