Facebook Marketplace scams typically involve a fake buyer getting in touch over an item for sale on the site. Here are the danger signs.
Facebook Marketplace scams take advantage of what should be a handy way of selling your unwanted stuff, but not all ‘buyers’ that approach you on the platform are as they seem.
Here we explain how Facebook Marketplace scams work, how you can spot a scam and how to get your money back.
How do Facebook Marketplace scams work?
There are numerous Facebook Marketplace scams doing the rounds. The most common include:
- The deliver company / courier scam
- The obscure payment method scam
- Fake payment confirmations
- Phishing attempts
What is the Facebook Marketplace delivery company / courier scam?
After you’ve placed an ad for the item you’re looking to sell, a scammer may contact you, expressing interest. Messages are exchanged over the platform, a fee is agreed and details such as contact numbers and a pick-up address are confirmed.
But then there’s a snag: the ‘buyer’ says they can’t pick the item up themselves. Instead, they want to arrange a same-day collection by delivery company DPD, or a similar courier.
The buyer not being able to come and collect the item themselves isn’t the only problem. They also want you to pay a fee for ‘insurance’ to cover the supposed collection by DPD.
Many sellers are keen to get rid of an item they’re selling, especially larger white goods they no longer need. This means they can easily find themselves talked into agreeing to pay the fee to get the sale over the line and the item off their hands. But this is the point at which the scam takes place.
Once you’ve agreed to pay the phoney insurance fee, the fraudster sends you a fake email posing as DPD, conveniently including a link to a site they want you to visit to pay the fee on.
If you click through, you’re taken to a phishing site – again disguised in DPD’s branding – where you’re asked to enter your card details and make the payment.
Case study: Claire and the DPD scam
Fraudsters posing as Facebook Marketplace buyers are continuing to use the same tactics to extort cash from their victims, as one genuine seller recently found out.
Claire* (*name changed) was selling a dishwasher on Facebook Marketplace when she was approached by what she thought was someone genuinely interested in the item.
Not long after, she was asked to enter her card details into a fake DPD website to cover the ‘insurance’ and attempted to pay the fee.
Fortunately in her case, Claire’s bank recognised the payment she was attempting to make was suspicious and blocked the transaction from going through. At this stage, Claire realised what was really going on and put a complete stop to the transaction.
But with such convincing tactics, many others aren’t so lucky. If the payment had been successful, not only would the money have been sent to fraudsters, but they would also have captured the victim’s card details.
What is the obscure payment method scam?
If the buyer insists on a payment method not recommended by Facebook – or that you’re not familiar with – alarm bells should ring.
If you’re asked to transfer the money on a platform such as Zelle, don’t accept. It’s always best to use Facebook Checkout or PayPal, as there will be protections in place. Or go old-school and accept cash face-to-face.
Similarly, don’t agree to continue the conversation outside of Facebook, as this’ll make it hard to get your money back if anything goes wrong.
** Zelle Scams on Facebook Marketplace **— ScamAdviser (@scamadviser) September 2, 2022
Watch out for buyers on Facebook Marketplace insisting on Zelle payments. You may lose money to a Zelle Scam: https://t.co/og2yLT07NK#ScamAdviserAlerts #FacebookMarketplace #MarketplaceScam #ZelleScam #ScamAlert #OnlineScam #Scam pic.twitter.com/7PH5CqUwzX
What are fake payment confirmation scams?
You may receive a fake email claiming to be from a legitimate site, confirming payment for an item you’re selling. These might seem to come from PayPal, or banks such as Monzo.
However, no transfer has actually been made. Only accept payments via the methods you’ve stipulated and always double-check your account to confirm payment has in fact been made. Otherwise there may be no recourse after handing over the goods.
🚨 FRAUD ALERT: FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE SCAMS 🚨— Monzo 🏦 (@monzo) May 5, 2022
You’re selling something on Facebook Marketplace and you get this email. It looks like it’s from us, confirming a payment from your buyer. But it’s really a scam.
And you’ll post the item without ever getting your money.
THREAD ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/DkLIWtwjl7
What are phishing attempts?
Phishing is any attempt to get you to hand over personal details, including bank account information. If there are any hoops the buyer (or seller) gets you to jump through which seem unnecessary – such as setting up some form of account – there’s a good chance it’s an attempt to get the information they need to defraud you.
Find out more about how these types of scams work.
How can I tell if a Facebook Marketplace buyer is genuine?
Alarm bells should ring if someone you’re arranging to sell an item to attempts to complete the transaction via a third party. As the seller, you should never be placed in a situation where you’re making payments or being asked to visit third-party sites.
Take your time to assess any contact you receive and don’t be rushed or panicked into making any rash decisions.
You should also take the time to check the profile of the potential buyer. If the profile is light on information, appears to be a pseudonym or contains no photos or activity, then tread carefully.
What should I do if I’ve fallen victim to a phishing site?
If you think you may have sent money to fraudsters and/or given your card details away, you need to contact your bank immediately via its fraud hotline.
Alternatively, as most of the larger banks are signed up to the Stop Scams UK scheme, call the 159 hotline.
Your bank should then work with you to secure your account, cancel the compromised card and issue a replacement. It should also work with you to get your money back.
How can I report Facebook Marketplace scams?
Facebook’s website says you can report a scam buyer on Facebook Marketplace by navigating to your listing, locating the messages between you and the buyer and tapping the three dots.
Sellers can be reported in the same way.
Fake emails and phishing websites should also be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre at [email protected]. Action can then be taken to remove these websites before anyone else falls victim.
A spokesperson for DPD said: “We are aware of this particular scam and can confirm that DPD would never be involved in marketplace collections, ‘insurance fees’ or cash payments like this. We would advise people to be very wary of any approach similar to this via marketplaces.
“While we continue to do everything we can to stay one step ahead of fraudsters, we cannot prevent cybercriminals from targeting individuals.
“With emails purporting to be from DPD, our advice is always to check the email address is valid. Often this is forged and looks different from the three domains we use: dpd.co.uk, dpdlocal.co.uk or dpdgroup.co.uk. Also check any links are to the site you’re expecting to see. Fraudsters will attempt to trick individuals by changing letters or numbers within links.
Anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of online fraud should report it to the National Cyber Security Centre at [email protected].