IT IS one of the most popular places to sell stuff online, with over a billion users worldwide logging in every month.
But while Facebook Marketplace is growing rapidly, it’s also a hotbed for scammers tricking people into handing over their hard-earned money.
They use sophisticated techniques that can cost hundreds or even thousands of people.
A survey this week revealed that one in six people has fallen victim to an online platform scammer.
Budgeting Expert think queried 1,000 Brits to investigate the most common tactics used.
These include approaching victims using a fake profile and demanding prepayment for items that never arrive.
Thinkmoney, a UK-based banking provider, has put together nine tips to help you spot Facebook Marketplace scams.
If you’re not sure if a transaction is slick, take these steps to help protect your funds.
1. Always check when Facebook profile was created
Before you sell or even buy anything on Facebook Marketplace, check out the person’s profile.
Check the date the account was created. Facebook launched in the UK in 2005, so most people will have an account from a few years ago.
If the account contacting you was created recently (within the last few weeks or months), you should approach it with caution as this could indicate that it was created specifically to scam innocent people. .
** How to check when an account was created on Facebook Marketplace **
- Click on the listed item that interests you
- Scroll down to ‘Seller Info’
- This will tell you their Facebook name and the year they joined Facebook
2. Never prepay for an item
You should try never to prepay for an item before it is received.
This is a common tactic that can see you paying for an item that will likely never arrive, leaving you out of pocket.
Instead, always try to exchange money and items at the same time (if purchased locally).
Make sure this is a public place and that you bring someone you know.
If someone is shipping, make sure you have proof of postage and tracking number.
Unfortunately, that does not guarantee that the item will arrive as described, so please try to get photo proof of the item being sent.
You will always have to be cautious when buying second hand.
3. Always use reputable payment methods
You want to make sure you don’t fall short when buying or selling items on Marketplace.
Things like PayPal can be safe for buyers because they will investigate any claims on your behalf.
Plus, they also provide seller security. But that is if you pay with the right method.
Avoid paying through the ‘friends and family’ method if they are strangers, as this has no protection. Use the ‘goods and services’ option instead.
Never agree to any payment method you don’t want to use. It’s your money, so make sure you’re comfortable and protect your money.
4. Be aware of refund options if using PayPal
When you buy an item through PayPal, you can choose either “goods and services” or “friends and family”.
The second transaction is essentially a transaction for people you know, which means they don’t have to pay a fee to receive payments.
But scammers are aware of this and can force you to use this option, as it also leaves you without buyer protection.
Hard to get your money back through this method.
However, using the “goods and services” method, you will see PayPal Buyer Protection.
Therefore, you can choose to refund if the item does not arrive or does not match what is described.
To do this, you must:
- Dispute a transaction within 180 days of your purchase of the product. Simply log into your PayPal account, click on ‘Disputed Transaction’ (can be found under ‘Report a Problem’).
- Select the transaction you are disputing and click Continue.
- Select ‘Item dispute’. Then you and the seller will have 20 days to come to a solution. If that doesn’t work, you can report a claim within 20 days of opening the dispute.
5. Emphasis on tracking mailed items
If you need to receive an item by mail, insist on a shipping method that allows you to track postage. That way, you can be sure they sent you the item in the post.
6. Only communicate by Facebook
If the seller insists on speaking off Facebook, be wary. And never give your personal number to a stranger.
Doing so may result in you having to send payments through methods that make it impossible for you to get your money back.
Emphasize communication through Facebook and stop communicating altogether if they are trying to force you to speak on other channels.
7. If the listed price changes, be cautious
If you’re looking to buy an item but then the price gets higher when you’re interested, thinkmoney recommends walking away or at least questioning why the price changed when you showed interest. .
Remember, this can be a tactic to lure you in and then try to make more money, so always ask questions and skip it if you’re unsure or unsure of what you’re buying.
8. Block and report any sellers harassing you for money
If you’ve shown interest in something on Facebook Marketplace and have communicated with a seller, but they’re harassing you for money, block and report them.
You can report a seller by clicking on the item you are interested in and then clicking on their name.
Once on their profile, click the three dots on the page and select “Report”. Then you should block them so they can’t contact you anymore.
9. Always be cautious with rental listings
Facebook Marketplace is more than just a place to buy items. There are also property rental listings.
If you are going to rent a property from Marketplace, thinkmoney recommends treating it as if you were renting a property from an agent.
Always visit the property, confirm its availability, and do not pay anything (including a deposit) until you have signed the correct paperwork.
They may use fake pictures of old listings, or in some cases the property may not be available and you could run out of money by paying a deposit to “secure” a home that you won’t be able to find. was never available in the first place.
What should you do if you have been scammed?
- Report scammers immediately. Do this by clicking on the merchant’s name and the ellipsis on the profile, selecting the “Report” option. Then you need to follow the instructions.
- Block the seller. This will stop any communication, especially if they harass you for payment.
- You can also contact PayPal through Buyer Protection if you already use their payment method, to try and get your money back. This will guide you on how to set up a dispute.
Thinkmoney’s Jonny Sabinsky said: “It’s not surprising that more and more people are being scammed through social media platforms, specifically Facebook.
“It’s important that you always be aware of who you’re talking to and their intentions when it comes to you and your money.”
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And, one eagle-eyed Reddit user made $2 billion fly stealth bomber on Google Maps.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8166726/never-buy-facebook-genius-scam-list/ Never buy ANYTHING from Facebook without checking the genius ‘scam list’ first