Shopping on Facebook Marketplace? Look Out for Scammers

October 30, 2017


Facebook Marketplace can be a great place to find deals on items for sale in your neighborhood. But like any online classified site, watch out for warning signs before handing over money. BBB is seeing reports of Facebook Marketplace scams in BBB ScamTracker, especially for big ticket items like used cars and RVs.

How the Scam Works

You’re shopping on Facebook Marketplace and spot a car that looks like a good deal, so you contact the seller. The seller replies and says she or he is out of the country, in the military or otherwise unavailable. So instead, they ask you to use Ebay, Amazon or another reputable third-party company to pay for the item.

The seller assures you that you’ll have a chance to see and test drive the vehicle before committing to a purchase. However, you must first wire money or send funds via pre-paid debit card to Amazon or eBay and if you’re unhappy with your purchase you can simply return it for a full refund.

Unfortunately, both the third party service and the seller are a con. The car doesn't exist. Some scammers will even create fake Amazon or eBay invoices.

How to Avoid Scams on Facebook Marketplace

Always meet the seller and see the item before you buy. This will help you avoid most scams on Facebook Marketplace. This is also true for housing rentals. If you can't tour the house or apartment before renting it, it's probably not available.

Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services. This scam is only one take on this trend. Avoid them by purchasing directly from the seller.

Report scams to Facebook. If you encounter a scam on Facebook Marketplace, report them.

Check out BBB’s web purchasing tips.

To learn more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips. To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.

Note: Facebook, eBay and Amazon are BBB Accredited Businesses.