Can a seller be scammed on Facebook Marketplace?

Facebook Marketplace is exploding, with over one billion monthly users. Everything from baby cots to Gucci bags may be found locally at a reasonable price. Many Facebook Marketplace users are genuine individuals offering genuine goods. Unfortunately, con artists posing as legitimate consumers and merchants abound. You must protect yourself from the most typical Facebook Marketplace scams, whether you're trying to purchase or sell. We'll go through why Marketplace has become such a tempting target for scammers, how to spot the most typical scams, and how to purchase safely without worrying about losing your time, money, or things in this article.

Why Do Scammers Target Facebook?

Facebook Marketplace is an e-commerce platform where Facebook users may buy, sell, and trade things. It was launched in 2016. You'll feel right at home on Marketplace if you've ever used Craigslist or eBay. Users list products for sale, complete with images and descriptions. Buyers may also check the seller's ratings and see their Facebook profile and shared connections because Marketplace is linked to Facebook.

Regrettably, social media isn't always what it appears to be. Scammers may easily impersonate others, utilize social media takeovers to market products falsely, and steal from unwitting consumers.

What are some of the warning signs of a Facebook Marketplace scam?

Scams on Facebook Marketplace affect more than just buyers. Fake purchasers may prey on sellers in order to get personal information that may be used in future scams or even identity theft.

So, what should you check for if you suspect the person you're speaking with is a con artist? The following are some warning signs of a Facebook Marketplace scam −

  • For high-ticket products, sellers offer suspiciously low prices.

  • Sellers are adamant about not meeting in person.

  • Attempts are made by buyers and sellers to move the conversation away from Facebook Messenger.

  • Buyers will provide you with pre-paid shipping labels.

  • A buyer pays too much for a thing.

  • Buyers and sellers will inquire about your phone number.

  • They don't have a photo on their profile.

  • The seller wants you to pay with a gift card.

The Most Common Scams on Facebook Marketplace Scammers on Facebook Marketplace nowadays will purposefully deceive you into paying for something you didn't even want. Your order will either not be delivered, will have significant defects, or will be replaced with different (and typically less valuable) goods.

A Facebook scam, on the other hand, might deceive sellers into believing they've found a real buyer. Instead of paying for a good, these imposters adopt devious methods to defraud the supplier.

To prevent being a victim of a frequent scam, it's vital to know some of the most typical ones. Below, we go over particular scamming tactics.

Items that are counterfeit

Many online and physical marketplaces are plagued by counterfeit goods. However, because Facebook is a worldwide platform where anybody may sell to anyone (and it can be difficult to track down vendors), the danger of purchasing counterfeit goods is increased.

Counterfeit things are essentially counterfeit duplicates of actual products that are offered as the "real thing." Criminals choose to duplicate high-priced items because they make the most money.

Fake designer apparel, perfumes, cosmetics, medications (although Facebook does not allow the sale of prescription drugs), sports jerseys, and jewelry are just a few examples of counterfeit things to be aware of.

Scams with gift cards

Simply asking for money and not delivering the merchandise is a swindle as ancient as commerce itself. On Facebook Marketplace, one variant of this is when a vendor requests payment in the form of a gift card and then refuses to sell the product after receiving the gift card.

Because gift cards are practically untraceable, this fraud is extremely difficult to deal with for both victims and police. They are seldom linked to a specific person or account. Even though they're frequently purchased in a non-anonymous manner (such as a credit card), the gift card itself isn't necessarily traceable.


The so-called "bait-and-switch" strategy is another age-old deceptive sales practice you could come across on Facebook Marketplace.

When a buyer approaches the seller, the seller will advertise a respectable or high-quality product for a relatively low price, which will then "be available" when the customer contacts the seller. The vendor will then present the consumer with a product that is either more expensive or of poorer quality or quantity. To put it another way, the offer has suddenly become less appealing.

Products that have been broken

On Facebook Marketplace, broken items are frequently offered. Buyers may find it tough to inspect a photograph to determine whether or not a product is defective. Pictures aren't always accurate representations of reality. They might have been taken at a different time, or they could be images of a different product entirely.

Rentals on the Facebook Marketplace that are not real

On Facebook Marketplace, be wary of false or deceptive rentals. On this front, there have been several instances of deceit, ranging from the use of misleading photographs to bait-and-switch methods — all the way to the posting of properties that are actually held by someone else.

Before sending money or signing anything, make sure to view the property you're interested in renting. These frauds may, of course, occur while you're buying a property (as opposed to renting).

Scams with QR codes

QR code frauds are so common on online marketplaces that the State Bank of India (SBI) issued a warning earlier this year about scanning QR codes while selling an item.

Criminals may pretend to be interested in a thing you're offering and even haggle a bit to make the con seem more plausible. They'll then pay a portion of the product's cost and then ask you to scan a QR code when it's time to pay the remaining balance. "To guarantee their money goes to the proper account," they do this.

Instead of getting the money, you will be forced to pay the fraudster the stipulated amount. In general, QR codes pose a significant threat of fraud. In this post, you can learn more about it.

Scams involving car deposits

Facebook Marketplace has grown in popularity as a location to buy and sell cars. However, be aware of vendors that need automobile deposits. They may require you to put a deposit on the automobile so that they may hold it for you.

Their ad may abruptly vanish once you've paid the deposit. When it's time to meet up, they can offer you a phony address. Needless to say, getting your money returned is as unlikely as obtaining that amazing automobile deal.

Overpaying by "accident."

So far, we've mostly dealt with frauds perpetrated by Facebook Marketplace merchants. Sellers, on the other hand, may be conned. Scammers may easily do this by forging payment receipts or confirmations for amounts greater than the asking price.

Do you know how when you use PayPal or another payment provider, you get a notification indicating you've made a payment? It's fairly simple to imitate this message without really transacting money. Take, for example, the image below.

Updated on: 16-Mar-2022

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