While people are generally trustworthy, any time that you get a large number of people together, you will have those who try to take advantage. This is true in both physical and digital locations. One particular online community that has experienced some difficulties with online scams in recent years is Facebook Marketplace. Let’s take a look at some of the potential problems you may encounter and how to protect yourself.
Fraud and Scams on Facebook Marketplace
If you watch your local news, you may have seen a report or two over the years detailing someone who was victimized by a scam when trying to sell a product online. On most occasions, the scam is simple financial fraud. A user may be sold a product that is fake or is not in the condition that was described.
In other situations, a Facebook Marketplace user may purchase an item to be shipped to them, only to find that it never arrives. Any time two people agree to a transaction with one another online, there is an element of trust that is assumed. While most transactions are fine, sometimes buyers or sellers on platforms find themselves as victims.
However, even more concerning are the rare instances of severe online scams that can involve robbery, assault, or murder. This is why meeting someone online to exchange goods can be a stressful situation for many. However, there are many things that can be done to reduce the risk of online scams when selling or buying on sites like Facebook Marketplace.
How to Protect Yourself from Fraud and Scams
There are many things that you can do to protect yourself from financial fraud when buying an item on Facebook Marketplace. Of course, one of the most reliable solutions is to arrange to view the item you are purchasing in person before agreeing to the transaction. This can typically help you to have greater confidence in your purchase.
Another tactic is to pay with a credit card or PayPal. This can be particularly important when deciding to buy an item that is being shipped to you instead of instantly transferred. Both PayPal and most credit cards have fraud protection that can refund your money if your item is not received or is different from what is expected.
However, the same is not true if you pay with other money transfer services like Cash App or Venmo. Be sure to know the fraud protection policies of the tools that you use to exchange money. Additionally, never hand your phone over to another person during a transaction even if they ask to help you complete the transaction. This could allow the person to transfer a large amount of money to themselves without your knowledge.
How to Stay Safe on Facebook Marketplace
As noted, there are times when Facebook Marketplace has led to situations where buyers or sellers have faced more significant consequences than fraudulent activity and online scams. In some situations, they have been robbed or their safety has been compromised. Fortunately, you can exercise some tips to stay safe when making a transaction as well.
First, if the seller wants to quickly move the conversation to a different platform such as Whats App or a text messaging app, this should raise some concerns. This is a common tactic done by scammers to protect their accounts from being removed should they engage in any criminal activity.
Additionally, whenever you meet someone in person to exchange items, be sure to do so at a police station parking lot. If the person does not want to meet at this location, that should serve as a huge red flag that they may have nefarious intentions.
A final suggestion involves taking a look at the other person’s Facebook profile. Does it appear to be recently created? This could spell trouble. Do you have friends in common? This may be a sign that they can be trusted.
Practice Due Diligence to Avoid Online Scams
When dealing with anyone on Facebook Marketplace, simply practicing a bit of due diligence and understanding basic safety practices can be helpful in protecting you from fraud, online scams, and other negative situations. Be sure to follow these tips the next time you exchange goods online. While most people aren’t scammers, people wanting to take advantage of you are out there on these platforms.