Police issue warning over Facebook Marketplace scams
Police are warning users of Facebook Marketplace to be wary of scammers after receiving several fraud reports.
A seller in Gloucester reported agreeing a sale, before realising they were being conned when the “buyer” stated that he would pay via PayPal and then asked for the seller’s PayPal account log-in details.
The seller realised the scammer had no intention of buying the item, and in fact was just trying to obtain the necessary information to hack into their PayPal account.
Facebook Marketplace sellers have also reported apparent “buyers” turning up to collect items and suggesting that they’ve transferred funds into the seller’s bank account via a banking app.
However, the scammer in fact has a fake banking app installed on their phone, so although it appears that they have paid, no funds are actually transferred. The “buyer” then leaves with the item and the seller is left with nothing.
People attempting to purchase items on Facebook Marketplace have also reported scams, with purported sellers insisting on up-front payment before directing the buyer to a false address to collect the item that they have paid for.
Officers are now reminding people using Facebook Marketplace to be careful of possible scammers.
A spokesperson for Gloucestershire Constabulary said: “People need to be mindful of the tricks that criminals can use to scam people when buying or selling using online sites such as Facebook Marketplace.
“If you are ever concerned by the behaviour of anyone contacting you through an online selling site, you can report this direct to Action Fraud via their website (www.actionfraud.police.uk) or through their call centre on 0300 123 2040.
“When you are looking to purchase something, always remember – if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
There are a number of ways to help stop scammers:
* Never send items before you have received ‘verified’ payment.
* Always check that the money has arrived and is cleared in your account and that it is not still ‘awaiting confirmation’.
* Do not use unusual payment methods – only use Facebook Checkout, PayPal or cash when using Facebook Marketplace.
* If a buyer becomes pushy, aggressive or makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to block them and report them to Facebook.
* Don’t give away personal information and if you need to provide your address for a buyer to collect an item, only do so once you are confident they have committed to buy it.
* If you meet-up in person with any purchaser on Facebook, think of your own safety – meet in a well-lit, public place and try to have a family member or friend accompany you.
* If anything doesn’t feel right about an online sale, cancel it.