Sell and Buy Safely: 10 Tips to Avoid Facebook Marketplace Scams

facebook marketplace scams

Are you wondering whether you can buy something safely on Facebook? Perhaps you have a few items you no longer need and you’re thinking about making some money from them. Facebook Marketplace is great for quickly selling and buying but it also has its dangers thanks to Facebook marketplace scams.

If you’re new to Facebook Marketplace, it’s important to get some tips before you start engaging with buyers and sellers. Here are some top tips for avoiding Facebook Marketplace scams.

Keep Things Public

If you agree to purchase or sell something to someone on Facebook, never go to their house if its a total stranger. Going to a stranger’s home puts you at risk of being robbed or being put in an intimidating situation.

If you agree on a sale, meet with the person in a public place. Choose somewhere that’s frequented by people and has security cameras in place. For instance, your local police station car park is an ideal spot to exchange goods.

Treat Everyone With Suspicion

The majority of people that you engage with on Facebook Marketplace will be totally trustworthy. However, there will be the odd few people who try to take advantage of you. You won’t be able to contact Facebook each time you’re suspicious, so use your instincts instead.

If you’re asked to do anything you feel uncomfortable with, say no immediately. If a discussion with someone starts to make you feel awkward, it’s best to end it as soon as possible.

Make Fair Exchanges

Whether you’re selling or buying, the exchanges you arrange on Facebook should always be fair. For example, if you’re selling an item and someone asks if they can collect the item and then make multiple small payments over time, the answer should always be no.

Always collect the money in full before giving any items away. Similarly, you should always pay in full when you’re buying items from a Facebook Marketplace seller. 

Do Your Research

If you see an item you’re interested in buying, it’s worth taking a look at the seller’s profile before showing your interest. There are certain signs that can tell you whether the person is likely to be a scammer.

  • Is the person from your local area? If he’s advertising on a local selling page but doesn’t live in the area, alarm bells should ring.
  • How many friends does the person have? A genuine seller will usually have a lot of friends and activity on their profile. A scammer may have very few friends and not much activity.
  • Check the seller’s image. You can click and drag the image into a search engine and see what comes up. If the image registers with a different name, you know you need to avoid the seller.
  • Is the seller’s image of something generic? If you can’t see a picture of the seller it should raise a red flag. Someone who doesn’t want to be seen may use a picture of a flower or a sunset instead of their face.
  • The seller’s public posts will be a clue as to whether he is trustworthy or not. For example, if the majority of posts are links to gambling sites, weight loss pills or porn, it’s a good indication that you should stay far away.

Is It Worth It?

You may see an item you want to purchase on Facebook Marketplace but that doesn’t mean you should trust the price. It’s important to take a look at what the item is selling for as new and ask questions to determine its condition. If the price just isn’t worth paying, don’t pay it.

If you’re selling an item, it’s often better to underprice than overprice. If you’re not sure about the item’s worth, you may want to get it appraised first. Overpricing an item will often lead to heated arguments if a buyer finds out they’ve over-paid.

Give Evidence

As a seller, it’s important to build up a trustworthy reputation. One of the best ways you can do this is to provide picture evidence of the item’s credentials and receipts or appraisal letters. For example, take a picture of designer clothing labels and what the item was bought for.

If buyers can see you’ve done your research and you’ve already come up with a fair price based on expert advice, they’re far more likely to get in touch without having to do any research of their own. 

Communication Should Be Easy

If you’re having difficulty communicating with a seller or buyer, you may need to think twice about making an exchange. Generally, both sellers and buyers will be enthusiastic about an exchange because they want something from it.

If you’re communicating with someone who is taking days at a time to reply to messages, it could be an indication of a no-show at the exchange. It could also indicate someone who is likely to change your agreement and up the price of the item.

If you can’t make an agreement within a few days, it’s probably time to move on and look elsewhere.

Avoiding Facebook Marketplace Scams

The sad truth is, Facebook Marketplace scams take place every day. If you see something that raises a red flag, don’t take the risk.

Most importantly, always protect your personal details and never give out bank details while using Facebook. If someone asks for your card details to send you an item, quickly refuse.

If you need more help navigating Facebook Marketplace, you can get your questions answered here. It’s a quick and simple way to get the answers you need without having to spend hours searching the internet. 

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