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 Scam Tracker, especially for big-ticket items like used cars and RVs.
How the Scam Works
You are shopping on Facebook Marketplace and spot a listing that looks like a good deal, so you contact the seller. The seller replies saying that she or he is out of the country, in the military, or otherwise unavailable. Instead, the person tells you they are using "Ebay," "Amazon," or another reputable third-party company to sell and ship the item.
The seller assures you that you will 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." They will act as an escrow service. If you are unhappy with your purchase, you can simply return for a full refund. Since you have confidence in the site being used for escrow, you agree.
Unfortunately, both the third-party service and the seller are a con. The car or other item doesn't exist. Some scammers have even gone as far as creating fake invoices from "Amazon" or "eBay," stealing their logos to make the invoices look real.
How to Avoid Scams on Facebook Marketplace:
• Always meet the seller and see the item for sale before purchasing. 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 likely 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've encountered a scam on Facebook Marketplace, report them. Instructions here.
• Check BBB Tips: Many sales scams use similar techniques. Check out tips on BBB.org/webpurchasescam
For More Information:
To learn more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips (bbb.org/scamtips). To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker).
Note: Facebook, eBay and Amazon are BBB Accredited Businesses.