Scams are everywhere. As one of the largest social networking sites, Facebook reports a whopping ad revenue of $27.2 million for all smart to large businesses. At such a high volume of businesses, the chances are high that you will have to encounter common Facebook marketplace scams that can cost you a hefty price.
From tricking you into paying for useless items to stealing your money into registering for high-ticket courses, there is a bevy of ways how suspicious people make you fall prey to these scams.
Whether you're on Facebook to buy or sell products or scroll the feed for fun, this article covers everything about the top Facebook scams that can cost you time, money, and effort.
8 Facebook Marketplace Scams You Need to Watch Out
1. Counterfeit items
Counterfeit items are new fake copies of any authentic product sold in a large volume. Facebook's marketplace is home to a number of malicious buyers who trick buyers into buying counterfeit items at a high price. From clothes and cosmetics to consoles and medicines, many naive buyers get trapped in the world of discounts and freebies, ending up in serious scams.
2. Gift Card Scams
As one of the oldest types of scams, Gift Card Scams are common where scammers ask voters to pay with gift cards instead of cash.
After receiving the anonymous gift cards, scammers often get untraceable and use a credit card with different details than the one used for buying the gift card.
Since it's nearly impossible to keep a record of the transactions made by using gift cards, these scammers find an easy way to escape and scam others.
3. Mailed item scams
Out of all the common Facebook marketplace scams, mailed item scans hold massive scam potential as the buyer decides to trade outside the Facebook marketplace. In such cases, sellers often ghost buyers after receiving the money, and buyers never get their mailed items as promised.
However, this type of scam is commonly observed in national or international trades where scammers involve third-party delivery services to show fake proof to the buyer.
On the delivery date, sellers switch off their mobile phones or delete their seller account after scamming the naive buyer.
4. QR Code Scams
Commonly known as quishing, QR code scams are once again on the rise in which scammers make multiple phishing attacks on naive buyers.
In such cases, the scam usually takes place from the buyer's end as scammers initially show interest in buying any of your products. To make the scam look real, most of them also try to negotiate the price a little to attract more potential buyers.
At the time of payment, the scammer only pays for a small amount from the total and delays the rest of the price by asking you to scan a QR code.
Since QR codes can't be picked up by security software, scammers easily escape through the scam and can hack your payment accounts.
5. Fake Giveaways
Offering free giveaways is one of the easiest ways to trick people into making an immediate purchasing decision, which often leads to scams. By offering Freebies or putting items on sale, scammers play tricks on impulsive buyers and convince them to them click on suspicious links.
Such links direct the user to install malicious software on your device that makes it easy to steal your sensitive data and personal information to hack your bank accounts.
6. Stolen Goods
Selling stolen goods or bootleg items has become very easy with online shopping, especially on marketplaces like Facebook and Instagram.
In such scams, scammers buy stolen, bootleg, or knock-off items for cheap and put them on for sale or at a very discounted price. As a result, a high volume of buyers shows interest in buying the product without knowing its source. Since such products are often luxury and expensive, the chances are that the buyer will have to face severe consequences of having a stolen product that belongs to another entity.
7. Creating fake accounts
On platforms like Facebook and Instagram, creating accounts is a matter of a few minutes, which invites scammers to make their fake seller's profiles without verifying identity.
After this, the next step of scammers is to target buyers who actively shop from the Facebook marketplace and have the potential to invest money. As soon as the deal is made, the seller asks the buyer to pay for the product while promising the delivery on a certain day. Once the scammer receives the money, the person deletes the fake seller profile to erase any traces that could count as cybercrime.
8. Fluctuating pricing
The last and another common Facebook marketplace scam is when scammers keep changing the product's price after listing. However, this arouses the feeling of uncertainty for the buyer and gives signs of fraud.
In such scams, the seller first displays the product at a highly discounted price to lure the buyers. Once people start showing interest in the product and order it, the seller changes the cost to make it a more expensive item.
As a result, the delivery stops in the middle of the road as the seller fails to pay the registered price for the product and does a successful transaction.
What to Do If You Get Scammed on Facebook Marketplace?
1. Contact your bank and block your account
If you ever find yourself in a scam, the first and most important thing you should contact your bank and get your account blocked. This way, the scammer won't be able to hack your account and steal the money.
2. Make sure you don't have a malware:
Having malware on your device is an open invitation to scammers to hack your device and sneak into your bank account. If you've got malware on your device, all you have to do is use security software to keep your device safe and secure.
3. Report to the seller
Although Facebook is trying hard to catch scammers and suspend their Facebook accounts, you can play your part by reporting any fake or spammy sellers you come across on the platform.
4. Use Facebook Purchase Protection:
If you've been scammed with a damaged, bootleg, or stolen item, you can only use Facebook Purchase Protection to request a refund on a specific type of product.
5. Contact customer support
If you ordered something that didn't arrive on the estimated delivery date, Facebook suggests you contact customer support and convey the scenario. The support contacts the seller and, in many cases, refund the money back to you.
5 tips on preventing Facebook marketplace scams
1. Check the seller's profile and reviews
When shopping online for a product on the Facebook marketplace, a good rule of thumb is to check the seller's profile and reviews to ensure the authenticity of the profile. Also, read the reviews of the profile to make sure the account is not fake.
2. Use trustworthy payment options
Since most Facebook marketplace scams happen due to using malicious payment options, gift cards, or QR codes, a best practice is to only use certified and trustworthy payment options.
3. Don't scan QR codes to recurve money
To avoid the popular QR code scam, never trust QR codes to receive money which can easily be hacked.
4. Don't believe in FREE giveaways.
The word ''FREE'' can often intrigue impulsive buyers, ending up in serious scams of buying counterfeit, damaged, or bootleg items. To prevent this, stay away from ''too good to be true offers'' that often lead to scams.
5. Verify the seller
To make sure you're buying from a real account, make sure to verify the seller to avoid any kind of scams and frauds trying to sell you.
Although there is a bevy of ways scammers can trick you on the Facebook marketplace, the best thing you can do is keep your eyes open for such scams and do all the verification of the seller to easily identify the red flags of scams.