Example and Video from a Scammed Mother Shopping for a Television on Facebook Marketplace
Watch the video: Avoiding Facebook Marketplace Scams
“It Wasn’t Worth it,” said the woman who lost $250 to a scammer on Facebook Marketplace. The seller had a 65 inch smart TV for sale for $250. The buyer got the tip from a friend who said they recognized the seller on Marketplace as a high school friend. The seller acted with urgency, asking the buyer to send her the money using Venmo, a mobile payment service owned by PayPal. “There was a need to act fast.”
After the buyer sent the money, the excuses started rolling in. The buyer was not able to get the television. After many days passed, thy buyer asked for a refund. The seller said the money was already spent on bills.
Law enforcement says that if it sounds like it is too good to be true, it probably is. And if you are suspicious of anyone selling an online item, move along to the next seller.
Security Concerns when Buying from Any Online Marketplace
There are several ways a con may try to get your personal information. From giving information about yourself in conversation to giving out your email or phone number, you may be giving more clues to someone than you expect. People may prefer to communicate through Facebook Messenger or a similar program instead of giving email or phone numbers that can be Googled for more information about you.
By sticking with a messenger program you know and trust, you can block anyone who seems up to no good or with whom you no longer want to communicate.
Never Meet at Your Home or Workplace, Always Meet in Public
When buying or selling with someone you don’t know, use a designated public meeting place that is well lit, where there will be other people and security cameras. Call your local police or fire station and ask them if they know of any recommended spots to meet up with Facebook Marketplace buyers and sellers.
After you leave, make sure you are not followed home. Sophisticated crooks may use more than one vehicle and as one is leaving, the other is following you. It’s always good to vary your route home or make another stop somewhere safe and keep an eye open to make sure you were not followed.
Exchange Cash for Goods at the Same Time
Do not give someone your item and allow them to make payments later because the likelihood is they will never pay you. This is a common scam. Also, don’t fall for the “check in the mail” bit because it is usually a con.
Is the cash counterfeit? Is their check any good? How about cash? What about a bank check? Consider your comfort level in receiving secure payment in your transaction. If you are comfortable using a mobile payment method, do it on-site and give the person the item once you have received confirmation you received the money free and clear.
Does Something Seem Not Right About Your Buyer or Seller?
Especially when people say they are in the middle of moving to our out of state, be on alert for scammers. While there are many honest people who do buy and sell things like couches and televisions while moving, this is a perfect story to spin to a scam victim.
When using Facebook Marketplace you can view the person’s profile. You may have to add them as a Facebook friend to see more detail. Try asking if you don’t mind adding them as a friend before setting up the sale. Look for the same red flags you would if you received a friend request with someone who has no friends, has a brand new profile, or something else just does not seem right.
Know What You are Buying or Selling and What it is Worth
You may see someone selling a vehicle on Facebook Messenger telling you they just moved into the city and no longer need it, or need to raise money to pay for a court fine or child support. Beware, even though people may need to buy or sell quickly, they usually do not buy or sell things way over or under fair market value.
Do some research and look up what similar items are worth on various sites, including Craigslist, where you should also beware of shady buyers and sellers.
Great website – the nest – Read: How to Determine Fair Market Value of Household Items
Do Not Assume Other People’s Payments on Financed Items, Vehicles, or Property
What if you just got a new job and need a different vehicle to get to work. Maybe your credit is on the rebound and the car dealerships can’t help you. While it may be tempting to agree to take over another person’s payments on something, you should be very careful. Without understanding contract laws and remedies, you could end up getting in trouble. You might accidentally enter into a contract to receive stolen goods.
With too many scary examples to list, we recommend you stop and call Joseph Wrobel and talk to him about a concern that something may be a scam. Please also share this information with your friends and family who might be too trusting and need some street-smart tips on safety when buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace or anywhere else online.
Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney, Joseph Wrobel Wants You to Be a Safe Consumer
While our law firm is focused on bankruptcy protection, that is only part of our mission. We want everyone who knows us to come to us for tips and advice on buying, selling and making the best financial decisions for a bright and prosperous life.
For answers to any bankruptcy or consumer financial questions, call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. at (312) 781-0996 and please remember to share this article with others and be smart buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace.