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Facebook Marketplace Scam

Online scams are everywhere. They might not always be what you expect. Today we are going to warn you about a scam that can happen if you are selling anything through Facebook Marketplace or any other selling platform. We will tell you about our personal experience with this scam and what to look out for to ensure you are not a victim of this or any similar scam.

The Scam

Our founder Serge was selling a laptop on Facebook Marketplace when he received messages from an account that claimed wanted to buy the laptop and needed it posted to London.

The ‘buyer’ agreed on the price Serge was asking for, asked no further questions and asked for his bank details and email address to transfer the payment. This seems like a normal situation however it’s important to note that it’s not common to need an email address for a bank transfer.

Bank details and an email address were provided and the ‘buyer’ stated that they made the payment and to check for an email with a confirmation of the transfer and provided their address for the delivery to be posted. Serge was also asked to end the listing and ship the laptop immediately.

The ‘buyer’ was trying to rush Serge into ending the laptop while Serge checked his bank and still saw no new funds. Serge was then asked to check his email for a payment receipt which was there but there was still no funds. Below is the email claimed to be from the ‘buyers’ bank.

Part of our mission at Won Connect CIC is to warn people like you about scams so that you are more equipped to deal with situations where someone is trying to scam you. If you would like to support the work we are doing please take a look at all the different ways you can support us while gaining in return, something valuable for yourself or your business.

Red Flags You Can Notice On This Email

  • The name of the payment sender name does not match the account name on Facebook.
  • Font sizes are different which indicates the email has been edited.
  • Notice under Money Transferred to the section that the bank name and Serge’s name are in different font sizes.
  • The wording of the text does not seem official
    It asks for shipment tracking details. Banks would never need this as they do not facilitate the buying or selling of products from person to person.
  • It stated that the payment is pending and seems to require the tracking details first. Banks would never hold payment for this reason.

Once receiving this email with still no new funds in his account while the buyer was still rushing Serge to send the laptop first, he realised this was clearly a scam.

Our Advice

It is healthy to be sceptical. If your gut is telling you that something doesn’t seem right, then it probably isn’t

Look at the Facebook profile

If they are a scammer it is likely they don’t have profile pictures and posts going back years. If it looks like they have just created the account then be extra cautious.

Do not send anything until you have received the money

The only time that you need to add tracking details to receive payments is when you sell through third parties and they hold the payment while you ship the item. My only personal experience of this is when selling clothes via the Grailed app. Grailed receives the payment and holds the money until you provide tracking details. Banks would never do this.

Don’t be rushed into making a decision

Say you need a day to think it over. If they try to rush you then take this as a warning sign.

Always check email addresses

Clicking on the sender and then going on the official website and checking if the email address matches. You may be able to just tell by looking at the email address that it is not official.

If a Facebook account tries to scam you please report them to Facebook. This will not stop scammers but it will make it more difficult if their accounts get suspended.

Speak to Action Fraud

All fraud and scams must be reported to the police via Action Fraud. The service is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime, run by the City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

You can call them on 0300 123 2040 or submit a report on their website.

Learning digital skills may decrease your chance of being a victim of online fraud. They also improve your chances of employability and connectivity with family and peers. 





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