13 Facebook Marketplace Scams To Avoid 2024

Facebook Marketplace offers Facebook users a convenient location to find, purchase, and sell goods. You can find what you’re searching for by filtering your results by category, location, and price.

As a seller, Facebook allows you to list products, whether new or old, and lets you price them. The platform features thousands of products, including clothing, TVs, automobiles, and even real estate.

Sadly, the marketplace has its drawbacks. Scammers will intentionally mislead you into purchasing something you didn’t want. Your order will not arrive, have significant defects, or be a completely different product.

The second category of scammers are those who manipulate sellers into believing they have found a reliable customer. These imaginary customers use cunning strategies to defraud the vendor of their money rather than paying for an item.

It’s essential to understand these scams, how fraudsters operate, how to avoid them, and what to do if you end up a victim. Before we dive deeper, I know you might be asking yourself if the Facebook Marketplace is a safe place to shop?

Is it Safe to Shop on Facebook Marketplace?

Source: Unsplash

Yes, it is. People often shop on Facebook Marketplace without any concerns. Though you must be vigilant when trying to purchase or sell on Facebook Marketplace; not all trades are “safe.”

Fortunately, it is usually simple to avoid these risks if you know how to spot fraud and practice safe online shipping.

Common Facebook Marketplace Scams

Source: Pexels

1. Fake Products

Many markets, both online and offline, are plagued by counterfeit goods. Since Facebook is a worldwide Marketplace where anybody can sell to anyone, the danger of purchasing fake goods has increased. Also, sellers take advantage of the fact that it’s not easy for the buyer to track them down.

There are several counterfeit items on the platform, including designer clothes, phones, watches, etc. Surprisingly, the product looks similar to the real one in that you can’t easily tell the difference.

What even drives you into buying those products is that some are more expensive on other platforms. Therefore, these scam artists sell them at reduced prices to tempt you into making a purchase.

2. Bait and Switch

This scam involves a buyer reaching out to the seller after seeing an advertisement for a high-quality product at a reasonable price. They will go further and agree on a transaction. But the product will suddenly “be unavailable” on Facebook Marketplace.

The vendor will afterward present the buyer with a product of poorer quality or one with a larger price tag.

3. Broken Goods

On Facebook Marketplace, broken products are frequently offered for sale. Often, the trade is made without the buyer holding the product physically. Sellers use that to their advantage to dispose of broken goods.

As a customer, it can be very challenging to determine from a picture whether or not a product is damaged. The seller could have taken them at a different time, or they might be images of an entirely different product.

Also Read: Best Apps To Sell Clothes

4. Fake Rentals on Marketplace

Source: Pixabay

As a buyer, you need to be on the lookout for false or deceptive rentals. On this platform, there are cases of deceit where sellers use misleading images of properties held by someone else.

Before making any financial transactions or signing any documents, always ensure you visit the rental property in person. Similar scams can also occur when purchasing a property from the platform.

5. Car Deposits

Facebook Marketplace has grown in popularity as a site for buying and selling vehicles. However, some vendors like requesting deposits; you should avoid them. They’ll tell you to pay a portion of the price upfront to hold the car.

However, that’s not a guarantee they’ll keep the car for you. In most cases, they can remove their ad after you send the deposit.

When the time comes to meet up, they can also offer you a false address. In this scenario, your chances of recovering your money are as minimal as sealing that fantastic vehicle deal.

Also, you need to pay attention to any seller that uses this phrase on their product, “advance payment for reservation.” The seller will typically say that to show you that he has several interested buyers.

As a result, he’ll request a deposit from you to ensure that you are serious about the goods, so he doesn’t miss out on prospects with genuine buyers.

Naturally, this could make sense for more expensive products. But, even in those cases, you should always consider if the deposit is reasonable, given the item’s overall cost.

Never pay a substantial portion of the full amount upfront, especially if you don’t know the individual and haven’t met them.

6. Shipping Insurance Scam

Source: Pexels

Scammers may assume the identity of a trustworthy buyer who will pay a large sum of money (typically $100 or more) for shipment using a company like UPS. They’ll even go so far as to give you a shipping invoice, whether it comes as a falsified attachment or from a phony email account.

This scam centers on an “insurance fee” that the buyer demands you pay. This price, which is often about $50, can be tempting for you (the seller) to accept to deliver a desirable item for your asking price. The fraudster takes your money and goes on to the next victim once you send the money for insurance.

While some honest customers might be content to pay for shipping, given how common this fraud is, it’s a dangerous course to take. You should, at the very least, note that if asked to pay for any more “insurance” fees, just end all communication.

7. Good with no Receipts

Online product sales are a terrific opportunity for criminals to get rid of items and make some quick money. Even if you see a product that you’ve been looking for for ages, don’t be quick to buy it.

There could be shady circumstances behind how sellers get their hands on it. Sellers will scam you by lowering the price on goods to sell them quickly.

Always request the seller to provide receipts or other forms of identification if you have any doubts. Even if you’re not the one who stole the item, you might still get into trouble if someone reports it as stolen.

8. False Giveaways

Another widespread scam on Facebook Marketplace is the promotion of fictitious giveaways. Through false giveaways, scammers seek to trick people into downloading malware onto their devices or clicking on unsafe links.

As a buyer, you’ll be tempted to get maybe one giveaway by clicking on the link. By doing so, they’ll obtain your sensitive information and use it to their advantage.

9. Fake Accounts

Source: Pexels

To maintain the criminal’s anonymity, many Facebook scams are carried out via fake accounts. . The key to avoiding fraud is being able to spot bogus accounts.

You can use Facebook Messenger to communicate with individuals on Facebook Marketplace because it is integrated with your normal Facebook profile. As a result, you can see how long a vendor has been active in the Marketplace. If they just made their profile, this is a warning sign.

It’s possible that someone just registered for a Facebook account to promote on Facebook Marketplace. However, mistrust is more than appropriate if you come across an account made only yesterday, given that Facebook was first introduced in 2004 and is currently the most widely used social media platform in the world.

Other warning signs of a fraudulent account include an empty or unusual bio and fewer to no friends.

Also Read: Best This Is Why I’m Broke Alternatives

10. Overpayment Refund Scams

This fraud functions very similarly to the shipping insurance scam. A buyer will make up their interest in a product to the point that they say they have sent payment for it. Sellers should always double-check the transaction and balance if they offer to buy something.

They will further include a false screenshot of the transaction to support their allegation. The screenshot will make it evident that the buyer overpaid for the product. Next, they will request that you (the seller) return some of the money they have sent you, even though no money has been sent.

11. Gift Card Scam

While some vendors might be willing to trade products, few reputable vendors would accept gift cards as payment. Since gift cards are anonymous, there is no transactional record once you hand them out, unlike with almost any other form of payment.

Even though you could be “purchasing” something, if the seller doesn’t want a record of the transaction, there may be a problem.

This should not be confused with a different Facebook scam that asks users to fill out a form with all their personal information to earn a promotional code or gift card for a well-known shop.

12. Google Voice Scam

Source: Pexels

Some con artists would accept information or services put up in your name as compensation instead of simply your money. When it comes to the “Google Voice” fraud, in particular, both buyer and seller can fall victim.

Either seller or buyer can ask you to “check” your identity using a code when discussing a transaction. Once you submit your phone number in response to their request, you will receive a code (from Google).

When you set up Google Voice, Google will use the code to confirm your identity. If you provide the con artist with this code, they can use it to create a Google Voice account with your mobile number or access your account.

Also Read: Best Sites Like Asos

13. Sellers and Buyers take Transaction to other Platforms

One indication that someone is a fraudster is a desire to move the trade away from Facebook to another platform, such as a messaging app or email. The scammer will do this to eliminate any traces of a digital paper trail as proof that the vendor defrauded you.

As a result, there will be little to no proof of fraud on the service, giving the scammer some cover from Facebook’s closure of their accounts. This might apply to both buyers and sellers.

How to Avoid Facebook Marketplace Scams?

Source: Pexels

Let’s now find out how you can avoid getting caught in this web.

Examine the Profile and Reviews of the Seller

If you find a buyer or seller on Facebook, look at their profile to ensure they aren’t using a false account to con unsuspecting individuals like you. An empty bio and no friends on a relatively new account are also red flags.

Look at the seller’s reviews. Once a seller has five or more reviews, the reviews are made public. I highly advise avoiding vendors without reviews while making significant purchases.

Don’t Trust Offers that Seem “too good to be true”

It’s important to remember that if you see a high-end product with a bargain that looks “too good to be true,” take a minute to examine it. For example, someone selling a 50-inch smart TV from a reputable brand at $50 sounds fishy, doesn’t it?

You can unintentionally be paying a deposit for a fake posting or purchasing counterfeit goods. If you are at the cross-road of either buying it or not, just walk away.

Use Credible Payment Methods

Source: Pixabay

Never use gift cards to make payments on Facebook Marketplace. With a gift card, it’s nearly hard to find the scammer if they send a fake item or fail to provide the promised products. It is much preferable to have a wire transfer or PayPal receipt as proof of payment.

Use Facebook Pay whenever possible to make purchases, especially since some items qualify for Purchase Protection.

Avoid Scanning QR Codes

Under no circumstances should you scan a QR code that a potential buyer sends you in the hopes of receiving payment into your bank account. The purpose of scanning QR codes is to make payments rather than to receive cash.

Think Twice Before Making a Deposit

Source: Pexels

Always confirm that you can trust the seller before sending a deposit on goods. I suggest you only deposit goods you purchase from reliable vendors.

When a seller requests a deposit, first, you need to check if it makes sense for that specific product in the first place and, second, whether the requested amount is reasonable given the overall value.

Communicate using Facebook Messenger

Facebook encourages using Facebook Messenger to communicate when you carry out transactions on Facebook Marketplace. In case of a disagreement, you’ll have a record of your discussion if you do it this way.

After all, you can also interact by email, WhatsApp, or another type of messaging service. You shouldn’t agree to a deal over the phone without supporting documentation.

Don’t Buy Recalled Products

Selling recalled goods is against the law in several jurisdictions. Before buying the product, do some research on it. For example, check the manufacturer’s website for information if you’re unclear whether the item you’re purchasing has been recalled.

Also Read: Best Sites Like QVC

What to Do When Scammed on Facebook Marketplace?

Source: Unsplash

Even if you exercise extreme caution, it’s always possible that you’ll fall for a Facebook Marketplace scam. If this occurs, I recommend that you take the following actions:

Request Your Banking Provider to Block the Account

When a scam like phishing and QR codes occurs, you can’t be sure of the damage it has caused. It’s important to block your bank account.

Always be sure to get in touch with your bank if you believe this scam has occurred. Inform them of the incident and work with them to choose the best course of action.

File a Complaint with the Police in your Area

Since many Facebook scams are illegal in most countries, the state or nation you are currently in has the power to prosecute and convict these offenders. Take the quickest action to bring the perpetrator to justice.

Keep Your PC or Mobile Device Malware-free

Besides reporting the matter to authorities, you should hire an IT security expert to check your PC or mobile phone for malware if you suspect it’s infected as a consequence of the scam.

Explore: Best PriceSpy Alternatives

How Does Facebook Combat Scams?

Source: Pexels

Facebook has put in place a mechanism that assists buyers and sellers in stopping any scam that might occur in the future.

Here are Facebook’s measures to protect users from fraud:

Reviews and Rating

As a buyer, you can see the seller’s customer reviews when they get five or more ratings. On the other hand, customer reviews are private, which is unfortunate for sellers. Facebook claims that despite this, they continue to use these reviews to enhance the platform’s security.

Purchase Protection

Purchase Protection is available when purchasing certain products from Facebook Marketplace using Facebook Pay. The convenient mechanism known as Purchase Protection holds payments for some time or until the buyer has confirmed receipt of an item.

The buyer is entitled to a refund if there is a problem with the product or the vendor fails to deliver.

How to Report a Scammer on Facebook Marketplace?

Source: Unsplash

Remember that you should only report persons and listings that contravene the commerce policies of the Facebook Marketplace.

Take the following actions to report a seller:

  • Click the Marketplace icon from your News Feed’s left menu.
  • Select the seller’s listing that you wish to report.
  • Simply click the seller’s name.
  • Tap the three little dots.
  • Click on “Report Seller.”
  • Follow the directions on the screen.

Follow the instructions below to report a buyer:

  • Choose “Your Account.”
  • Simply click “Your Listings.”
  • To report a buyer, choose the listing that they purchased from.
  • Click the message link between you and the buyer. If you can’t find it, click “See More.”
  • Select one of the three little dots.
  • Tap “Report Buyer.”
  • Follow the directions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you access Facebook Marketplace without a Facebook account?

Source: Unsplash

No, you need a Facebook account to access the Facebook Marketplace.

How do I get to the Facebook Marketplace?

When you’re on Facebook, you can reach Facebook Marketplace by selecting it from the main menu’s left-hand side menu by tapping the Marketplace button.

If using the Facebook app, touch the menu button (which resembles three horizontal lines), and select Marketplace.

Is there a fee to use FB Marketplace?

No. Facebook Marketplace does not impose fees in contrast to other market platforms.

Will my Facebook Marketplace sales be visible to my friends?

Since anyone with Marketplace access can browse items that have been put there, your Facebook News Feed isn’t automatically updated with the products you’re selling. Also, your friends won’t be notified unless you want to share that information with them.

Is it safe to give an address on Facebook Marketplace?

Organize a meeting at a public location like a fast food joint, near a police station, or a mall. Don’t disclose your real address.

Who pays for shipping on Facebook Marketplace?

Source: Unsplash

Based on how well you’ve set up your listing, either the customer, Facebook, or you as the vendor will be responsible for paying for delivery. If you choose to cover the shipping expenses, Facebook will subtract the cost from your payout accordingly.

How long does it take for Facebook Marketplace to pay out?

If you label the item as dispatched, your reimbursement will begin 15 days later, or if you receive a delivery confirmation, five days later. It might take about five days for your reimbursement to arrive once it has been authorized.

How do I know if someone paid me on Facebook Marketplace?

You can view your outstanding balance from transactions with delivery payments, the date of your subsequent payout, and a history of your sales on the Marketplace’s sales area. Furthermore, you can check the bank account where the payment is made.


Scammers can defraud you in many different ways on Facebook Marketplace. These might be as basic as not delivering goods, to as complex as employing QR codes.

Fortunately, now you have gathered robust strategies to safeguard yourself, like reading seller profiles and ratings, using Facebook’s Purchase Protect, refraining from using gift cards, and, finally, employing common sense.

With these hints in hand, you can stay mindful when shopping on Facebook the next time.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.