9 Sneaky Facebook Marketplace Scams That Are Way Too Easy To Fall For

Buyer beware: Scammers may be lurking on the popular website.
Updated Sept. 27, 2023
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In most cases, Facebook Marketplace transactions go smoothly. 

However, scammers sometimes lurk on the popular website marketplace platform. Knowing how they operate can help reduce your stress about losing money when shopping.

Being aware of the following scams when shopping on Facebook Marketplace.

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Deals that are too good to be true

peopleimages.com/Adobe businesswoman cheering while raising fists

Sometimes, a deal is actually too good to be true.

In some cases, a person might legitimately list an item at a very low price in order to get rid of it quickly. But in other situations, they could be listing it at a low cost just to get your money.

This risk is higher if the seller is shipping the item to you rather than meeting you in person. They can take the money, only to walk away without giving you the product.

Taking advantage of deals is great, but be cautious of unusually low prices. This can help you avoid throwing money away.

Bait-and-switch scams

pathdoc/Adobe businessman involved in fraud

You might find the perfect product you’ve been looking for, only to discover it’s already been sold. Normally, this is just part of the luck involved when buying from Facebook Marketplace.

However, you should worry if the seller then tries to sell you a different — and more expensive — option. It might be a sign that the product you wanted was never available and was just a way for the seller to lure you in and scam you.

Receiving broken items

Andrii Zastrozhnov/Adobe senior man upset about broken delivery

Facebook Marketplace can be a good place to get a used, more affordable phone or television. But an item could be cheaper on Facebook Marketplace than at a retail location because it won’t work for long or won’t work at all.

Before you buy, confirm that what you’re getting is in working condition. Test it at the meetup.

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Requests for you to text a code

panuwat/Adobe man getting fake texts on smartphone

If a seller asks you to move a conversation to texting, decline. The service is connected to Facebook Messenger for a reason.

Crafty fraudsters might ask you to send a code to proceed with your transaction. They can then use that code as part of a two-factor authentication ploy to get into your personal accounts.

Demands for an advanced payment

www.doglikehorse.com/Adobe man lending hand asking for money

A shifty seller might ask you to send either some or all of the cash to pay for an item before they get it to you.

This could be a way for them to take your money and not give you anything in return. With Facebook Marketplace, it’s probably best to meet with the seller and have the item in hand before you pay.

Shady rental offers

peopleimages.com/Adobe frustrated woman moving out of house

Facebook Marketplace also can help you find a short-term or long-term rental property, such as a vacation home or an apartment.

Before you commit to it, confirm that the place is available to rent. Request a tour and ask to meet the property owner at the home.

Scammers might list apartments or vacation homes for rent on Facebook Marketplace that they’re not in a position to rent out.

Disguised counterfeit items

Viacheslav Yakobchuk/Adobe woman inspecting designer handbag at store

You may be excited to buy a new purse or expensive gaming system from a buyer on Facebook Marketplace.

However, you should always ask for additional information to confirm an item’s authenticity. When retrieving the item, give it a good look and test it. The scammer may be charging you for a counterfeit item.

A request that you pay with gift cards

Andrey Popov/Adobe saleswoman giving gift card to client

It is a red flag if you’re trying to purchase an item and the seller asks you to pay with gift cards.

If you realize later that something has gone amiss with the transaction or the item you are buying, the scammer likely will have already used the gift cards, and you will be out of luck.

Scammers who hide behind a fake Facebook account

Pixel-Shot/Adobe woman dating fake boyfriend online

A Facebook account that doesn’t have a profile picture or any posting history should raise red flags. The same can be said for a profile picture that isn’t of the person themselves.

Be cautious before engaging with a Facebook profile that looks like it could be a scam. Trust your instincts here.

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Bottom line

zinkevych/Adobe woman paying money at yard sale

If you want to keep more money in your wallet, you can find some great deals on Facebook Marketplace. Just be careful you don’t lose cash in the process.

Shop or sell carefully on the site. Contact sellers during the process to make sure everything runs smoothly, and don’t be afraid to call off a transaction if there are red flags that concern you.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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