Facebook Marketplace — what are some of the warning signs for scammers?

I am on Facebook marketplace a lot but always get a little weirded out when someone starts messaging me multiple times in a row like they’re incredibly persistent and desperate. It always sends high alert vibes to me. Sometimes they may just be desperate, but who knows.

What are some other tell-tale signs that indicate a buyer is a scammer?


The content was posted by Ok_Accountant_8716 on 2021-11-19 00:26:55 via reddit

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2 Comments

  1. Some things that I watch out for personally:

    1. If the person is really insistent on going off platform to handle the transaction. Like if they find you on Amazon or FB Marketplace but insist on getting your phone number or email address to continue talking to you instead of using the website’s native chatting function.

    2. If the website is oriented towards face to face and in person transactions, if the person insists on having the item shipped, or insists on using a third party courier.

    3. If the person/buyer offers to pay above the asking price for any reason (e.g. offering to pay an arbitrary amount above the asking price to pay for shipping or to reserve the item) or if the person insists on giving you extra money so that you can purchase something else (e.g. a gift card) to include with the item before you send it to them.

    4. If the person wants to use an unusual or inappropriate payment method (such as Zelle, PayPal Friends and Family, gift cards, checks, etc.) A lot of those are explicitly forbidden for use for ecommerce transactions or transactions with strangers, and others are primarily used because they are vulnerable to scams.

    5. If the website is oriented to local transactions, I also tend to be wary of people who seem to be shopping from sellers that are far from their stated location. You sometimes see scams where the person lives in, say, London but is trying to buy a used laptop from someone living in San Francisco which doesn’t really make any sense. If the item you are selling is something that is easy to find, it is really unlikely that someone would be so desperate for it that they would be searching across the world or across the country for it.

    6. This is more a subtle one, but often scam buyers don’t actually know what you are selling. They will say stuff like, “Is the item in good condition?” or “I am willing to buy the item” but they don’t really know what specific item you are selling (since they are sending the same message to a thousand people and don’t want to be too precise). Other times, they will copy and paste your title or description verbatim so it will also sound weird; like they might say, “I am interested in buying the WHITE IPHONE 6S W/ CHARGER GOOD CONDITION LIKE NEW, please consider the WHITE IPHONE 6S W/ CHARGER GOOD CONDITION LIKE NEW sold to me…” because they are just hurriedly copying and pasting the message and don’t really speak English well.

    My recommendation honestly is to focus on face to face, in-person, cash transactions. The vast majority of scams I’ve seen involve some kind of shipping, escrow, or other indirect methods of property transfer or payment. Scammers tend to insist on making things overly complicated and they try to distract you from that with sob stories or by offering you way more money than you are asking for.

  2. Aunty_Fascist says:

    If they won’t meet in person and pay/accept cash then no sale. it’s too risky to have stuff shipped.

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