Top Facebook Marketplace Scams to Avoid (2024)

In Short
  • Facebook Marketplace is excellent for selling or buying used items, but it's filled with scammers.
  • These scammers trick people and steal their life savings or personal data.
  • Phishing, Payment, and Product-related scams are some of the popular fraudulent schemes on Facebook Marketplace.

Many people in the world turn toward Facebook Marketplace when they have things they want to sell. As it turns out, Marketplace is also a hot destination where people scam others out of their hard-earned money. If you’re searching for something or listed a thing or two to sell on the platform, buckle up because we’ll go through different types of Facebook Marketplace scams and how to spot them.

1. Gift Card Scams

Gift cards
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These payment scams are hands down the most common scams on Facebook Marketplace and are generally the easiest to evade. The recurring theme in payment scams is anonymous payment links, paying the seller with gift cards, and mostly overpayment scams if you’re selling something.

No matter what the case, if you’re the buyer, always meet up with sellers in person, inspect the item thoroughly, and only then pay the amount. Do not make transactions in advance, even if the seller seems genuine.

How to spot this scam: If the buyer or seller even remotely brings a gift card, cryptocurrency, or any untraceable currency to the conversation, it’s likely a scam.

2. Fake Payment and Representative Scams

Fake Payment Representative Scams
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As for sellers, the opposite party might reach out to you claiming they represent a particular company and could try to gain access to your account by asking for your credentials.

Be careful about fake payment confirmations and scammers. They overpay and then request a full chargeback once you send back the overpaid amount.

How to spot this scam: No company representative will reach out to you personally to do you a favor for YOUR gain. If someone does, it’s likely a scam. Do not send back the overpaid amount immediately.

3. Phishing Scams


Okay, maybe not a “Cookie” but clicking on links from the opposite party on your phone or computer can be dangerous. The websites can steal your data and, if you’re on a phone, prompt you to install apps that can inject malware and text forwarding apps.

Elderly people are more prone to succumb to phishing scams. A good deal is very hard to miss, and that’s one of the things scammers take advantage of. They list the items at a price that’s too good to refuse, and that suspiciously good price should immediately alert you.

How to spot this scam: When a seller or buyer sends you a suspicious link on Facebook Marketplace, cancel the deal there and itself because this kind of scam could take you to a phishing website.

4. Wealth Distribution Scams

Wealth distribution Scams Facebook Marketplace
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We’ve all heard of the “Hi I’m xxx, a Prince from xxx country with wealth lots of wealth to distribute” scam. First up, never click on a link, and even if you do and the text on the website or from the sender that reads, “Hey, you’ve won a lottery!”, just back off. Many of us, especially our elders are too gullible, and those are the types of people these scam target, and sometimes succeed, sadly.

How to spot this scam: If someone sends you a message saying they’re super-rich and want you to take a portion of their savings, it’s a scam.

5. Immediate Interest Scams

The very reason people use Marketplace is to quickly sell the items they don’t need, and scammers can take advantage of your impatience. Do not immediately share your contact info, instead check the buyer’s profile to see if they seem legit or have any negative reviews.

How to spot this scam: If the person is impatient and asks you for your location details and phone number in the initial few messages of the conversation itself, it’s likely a scam.

6. Bait and Switch Scams

Meeting seller in person
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Product scams can be easily prevented by meeting sellers in person and not paying until you have the product in your hand. Many people in Marketplace tend to “order” stuff thinking they’d receive the exact thing, but what they receive will be completely different. Say you ordered the latest iPhone, you could get a dummy phone or a first-copy device that looks like an iPhone.

These are scams where you don’t immediately realize you’ve been scammed until you receive the product. Or, when the seller scams you with false lies about shipping and payment. You may be sold faulty or stolen products in some cases.

How to spot this scam: Try to meet the seller in person. Check for seller reviews to figure out if they’re genuine.

7. Shipping Scams

Shipping Scams Facebook Marketplace
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Another common scam is when the shipper “ships” the product but in reality, it’s never shipped and is faked. It’s the 21st century. Creating fake shipping labels and payment confirmations is child’s play. This can, again, be avoided by meeting the seller in person or by paying the amount only when the waybill number shows the item is shipped on the official website of the shipping company.

How to spot this scam: There’s no way to spot it except by looking at seller reviews and deciding not to go ahead with the deal. Always deal with sellers in person.

8. Pay Later Scams

If you’re selling something, make sure to take the full payment for the product at the time of purchase. Refuse if the buyer says they’ll give some amount now and pay the rest later. If you agree, you can kiss the rest of your money goodbye. This applies to both selling online and when meeting in person.

How to spot this scam: Do not agree for the buyer to pay the rest of the amount later. It’s a red flag in itself that you might not get the money back.

9. Stolen Items on Facebook Marketplace

Image: Shutterstock

There might be sellers out there on the Marketplace who may try to sell you stolen items. These types of deals are not uncommon and are usually very easy to spot. Some of the ways to do this are when the seller is in a hurry to sell the item for quick money, or if they don’t present a valid proof of purchase. Dealing with these sellers can even get you in trouble.

How to spot this scam: Check if the price of the listed item is far less than the market rate. Check if the profile has many items on sale for incredibly lower prices.

10. Faulty Product Scams

Faulty Product Scam Facebook Marketplace
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These scams are common with people selling electronics. Tech is tech, and it might break over time when not taken off. You will find a lot of people selling electronics while trying to hide a few functions that might not be working normally. Hence, it is important to inspect the product thoroughly before buying. Besides, we also suggest taking someone who’s knowledgeable about the product with you to ensure everything’s working fine.

How to spot this scam: Meet the seller in person and check the product thoroughly. Take your time inspecting and trying out the product, and only buy if it aligns with your expectations.

11. Rental Scams

Scamming people using fake property rental listings isn’t uncommon. The scammer will list a fake property by taking images from Google search and ask you to send a security deposit if you’re interested. Scammers may also ask for a fee from you if you want to view the property that needs to be sent by Wire transfer. Similarly, you need to be careful of lease-free properties, as the person who listed them just wants your money.

How to spot this scam: Check the photos thoroughly. Search for them on Google with Google Lens or Google Image search. Do not make any payment in advance.

Did you meet anyone who tried to scam you on Facebook Marketplace? What did you do about it? Let us know in the comments below.

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