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Be careful of a new scam targeting Facebook Marketplace users

Published 9 January 2017 by

If you are familiar with eBay and Etsy, then you might have heard of Facebook Marketplace too. This is a fairly new Facebook service, which lets you buy and sell goods online. Facebook has made it easier for 450 million users to shop with its system that works directly through the social media site.

But one big disadvantage that Facebook Marketplace has when compared to other online marketplaces such as eBay is that it doesn’t have a built-in payment system. This means that the buyer must arrange payment with the seller via an alternative payment method such as PayPal. They can also arrange to meet in person and exchange cash for goods or make a bank transfer. And, like other services that involve you parting with money, scammers are already starting to take advantage of Facebook Marketplace. Read on to find out how to stay safe.

Action fraud scam

Action Fraud has raised concerns for users to watch out for counterfeit goods on Facebook Marketplace. Around Christmas and just after, criminals meet the high demand and short supply of popular goods by reproducing counterfeit merchandise. Toys and electrical items are often popular and if you’re looking to buy them from a marketplace site, you’ll need to be extra careful.

Make sure you’re vigilant when you’re paying for goods, especially as some sellers are demanding that buyers send them money directly via bank transfer. According to some reports, buyers are transferring cash to fraudsters’ bank accounts for all the latest gadgets such as iPhones iPads, games, consoles and rare collectables like Pokémon cards, only to receive nothing in return.

And some people have reported that when they’ve transferred money to sellers and ask to meet them and pick up the goods, they give repeated excuses why they can’t. On one occasion, a seller reported that they offered to meet the buyer once they received a bank transfer, but the victim didn’t receive their goods and instead they were blocked online.

Follow the basic rules

When you’re buying anything online, always buy from reputable sellers and sites. If you want to shop on Facebook Marketplace, be sure to follow Action Fraud’s advice.

• For payment, always use a verified secure payment method such as PayPal.

• Never transfer money directly into a seller’s account, without seeing an item in person beforehand.

• If you purchase smaller items, ask for the exchange to be in a public place, like a local police station.

• If a seller’s profile or messages come across as too eager or they probe you too much to make a bank transfer, trust your instincts and walk away.

• When an offer seems too good to be true, it often is. If you have any doubts, it’s safer to ignore it.

Image Credit: Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

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