The six signs that your Facebook customer might be a scammer – Chronicle Live

A massive one in six people have fallen victim to a scam while using Facebook Marketplace, a survey has shown.

The most common cons are falling for fake profiles and paying for goods that never arrived, according to personal finance experts Thinkmoney.

Facebook Marketplace is a sales platform that lets users of the social media platform buy and sell items, usually to local people.

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But fraudsters are increasingly using the site to target people by pretending to be local sellers or buyers.

One in six people surveyed by Thinkmoney admitted falling for a Marketplace con and fraudsters use several techniques to part them from their cash, including fake profiles, dodgy links that steal bank details and more.

In response to this, Thinkmoney has come up with a list of tips for how to stay safe when using Facebook Marketplace.

1) Treat new Facebook profiles with caution

Take a a look at a person’s profile before you buy anything from them or sell anything to them..

Newly-created accounts can be a dead giveaway that your customer or seller may not be everything they say they are.

Many sellers find new buyers have accepted items but disappeared without paying and the same goes for those who have bought items but never received them.

2) Don’t part with your cash before you get your item

Always try to exchange the money and the item at the same time (if buying locally), in public and with a friend or family member with you if possible.

If someone is sending the item, make sure you get proof of postage and a tracking number, although this doesn’t guarantee that the item will arrive as described, so try to get photo evidence of the item being sent.

3) Think about the way you pay

PayPal can be secure for buyers as they will investigate any claims on your behalf. They also provide security for sellers.

But don’t be tempted to avoid fees by paying through the ‘friends and family’ method if dealing with a stranger, as this comes with no protection. Use the ‘goods and services’ option instead.

And be very wary if your seller wants you to use this method.

4) Insist on tracking for items sent by mail

If you do need to receive an item by post, insist on a method of shipping that allows you to track the postage.

That way, you can make sure they have sent you the item in the post, although as above, this only proves an item was sent, not necessarily the item you have paid for.

Facebook logo on mobile screen
Nearly a quarter of Facebook Marketplace users have fallen for a scam, the survey showed

5) If the listing price changes, be cautious

If you’re looking to buy an item but then the price becomes higher once you are interested, walk away, or at the very least, question it.

Many sellers use this tactic to lure you in and then try to get more money.

6) Block and report any seller harassing you for money

If you have shown interest in something on Facebook Marketplace and communicated with the seller, but they are now harassing you, block and report them.

You can report a seller by clicking on the item you were interested in and then clicking on their name.

Once on their profile, click the three dots on the page and choose ‘Report’.

You should then block them so they are no longer able to contact you.

Jonny Sabinsky, head of communications at Thinkmoney, said: “It comes as no surprise that more people than ever are being scammed through social media platforms, specifically Facebook.

“When it comes to spotting a scammer, here are a few red flags to look out for: a fake profile, a seller harassing you for payment or a seller requesting a ‘friends and family’ payment. It’s important that you are always aware of who you are speaking to and their intentions when it comes to you and your money.”

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