Currently, the Facebook Marketplace is booming in various sectors and has also surpassed one billion worldwide users in the past year. It has become an interface for consumer-to-consumer space that permits individual Facebook users to acknowledge the buying and selling of products and services seamlessly. It has also recently surpassed Craigslist in terms of fame and popularity for a variety of reasons.
Facebook Marketplace is effortless and free to use, as many people already use it. Facebook has an advantage over other platforms in that it also permits the user to search for listings of products and services in their local area, making pick-up much easier. Furthermore, Facebook Marketplace allows users to view seller profiles to determine whether they are legitimate or not, giving them a greater sense of safety and security on the website. Unfortunately, it can often lead to a false sense of security.
According to a recent survey, one out of every six people on the interface frequently implies Facebook marketplace fraud. As it attracts buyers and sellers with transparency and minor security, it is a sea full of fish for scammers to trawl. Facebook marketplace scams, including those on other social media sites, are having a rough time dealing with fraudsters that pose as legitimate buyers or sellers with fake identities. It’s easy for scammers to pose as someone else, use social media takeovers to list deceptive items, and steal personal and financial information from unsuspecting buyers.
Some of the most common Facebook Marketplace scams
- Deficient listing of products – this is the most common technique that scammers use to defraud individuals. Products like designer clothes, electronics, perfumes, or jewellery are heavily targeted. Scammers post significant images of the product that seems to be legitimate that a person should purchase it, but in reality they deliver a counterfeit product and swindle with the money.
- A deal seeming too accurate – Suppose you come across a major vend with minimal greenback tagged on it can be apprehensive. For instance, if you come across a pair of Nike shoes that are priced barely above the price stated on the original site, scammers use this technique frequently, as the buyer will always opt for a less expensive purchase of a product that is overpriced on different domains.
- Google voice scam – Other than the Facebook marketplace scam, the interface is also used to leverage different types of fraud. For example, a scammer posing as a buyer purchases a product. Further, they comprise the conversation to other communicating interfaces and demand the seller authenticate themselves by providing them with a verification code. However, in reality, the code sent to the seller consists of a 2FA code sent by Google Voice and initiated by the scammer. Due to this now they can generate an account with the seller’s phone number and acquire access to existing information.
- Bait and Switch scheme – Displaying a product or services, and providing a substitution to it is a classic Bait and Switch scheme. For example, you see a product you’ve been searching for, and then the seller tells you it is not available and in return offers you another, more expensive item in its place. Facebook marketplace scammers use this technique very often, as they acquire more money than in the previous deal.
- Freebie – A source on the Facebook marketplace claiming to sell the product or service can be a phishing scheme. Once you acknowledge and enter the source link provider, the seller will insert a virus that can extract your access to personal and fiscal information.
How to Spot a Facebook Marketplace Scam
- While purchasing a product from the Facebook marketplace, if a seller demands to surpass the product online or to present it in a non-public place, it can be suspicious. Instead, always close a deal in a public place and in bright daylight.
- Assume you are selling a product, and the buyer likes it and purchases it, despite the fact that they overpaid. They ask you to repay them from the same source, which can be unsettling. With this technique, scammers can obtain your sensitive information for fraudulent purposes.
- Sellers list their products on the marketplace and communicate with you through the Facebook Messenger app. However, after accepting the deal, they ask for your phone number to further contact you about where to deliver the product, which can be suspicious.
- If a seller retails the product for far less than the actual price, it can be dubious. It is a usual trick that scammers use to acquire innocent buyers’ attention and sensitive details.
- Suppose you are a seller, and the buyer asks for prior delivery and payment later; refrain from it. Scammers usually plan this type of trick for a seller that stays far away and needs to ship the product.
How do you protect yourself from a Facebook Marketplace scam?
- To protect your Facebook or Marketplace account, you should enable two-factor authentication (2FA) not only on Facebook but also on all the media sites. This method protects you from hackers and scammers that try to enter your account through fraudulent tactics.
- Before buying a product from a seller, look into their background and profile to see if there are any suspicious gaps in their activities or productivity.
- Construct a scam alert with the help of your bank authority and credit card company. Whenever a scammer or hacker tries to intrigue into your account, the authorities will get an alert about the process, and they will tighten the security.
- A seller asking for an upfront payment can be a major red flag. Without receiving the product or services or even confirming an order, refrain from acknowledging the offer.
- A scammer claiming to be a buyer or seller would provide you with a link that might be malicious and could be harmful to your sensitive information. Protect your devices with anti-malware software, which helps you detect if the links or URLs are genuine or dubious and provided through a Facebook Marketplace fraud.
The Facebook Marketplace scam has been extensively reported in recent times. Due to the increase in technology and time, scammers have opted for more sophisticated techniques to perform deceptive activities. However, to stay safe and secure from these scams one should be very cautious about the online obtaining procedures. Refrain from engaging outside of Facebook’s interface or platform. Use some preventive tools to help you detect the scam or fraudulent task that is taking place.