MOTORISTS looking to buy a new or used car have fallen victim to a worrying scam on Facebook Marketplace.
Buying used items online through platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Depop and Poshmark has become a common shopping decision as people want to save money and be more sustainable.
Scammers have started to take advantage of the platforms’ growing popularity. It’s therefore important to know who you’re buying from and how thieves can target you, according to Dutch cybersecurity expert VPNOverview.
The cybersecurity company specifically warned drivers to beware of scammers on Facebook Marketplace who are trying to scam innocent shoppers out of thousands of dollars.
The pros shared tips on how to spot and prevent scams, hoping to help people buy these goods online without worrying about harmful consequences.
1. BIG DEPOSITS
You should avoid giving sellers large deposits.
Since Facebook Marketplace is a huge platform for buying and selling various expensive products, including vehicles, a scammer might ask for a deposit so they can keep the vehicle for you.
The problem is that if you pay the hefty deposit before you receive your car, you may end up deleting their account or giving an incorrect address when it’s time to meet up and pick up the car.
It is recommended to always check that the deposit is reasonable in relation to the total price of the product and never pay a large or full amount in advance.
2. SELLER’S ACTIVITY
You want to know how active the person selling you the car is.
According to cybersecurity experts, fake sellers are common on Facebook Marketplace and Depop.
They like these platforms because they protect the criminal’s anonymity and they can easily disable their account.
If you spot a fake seller, the easiest way to spot it is to check how active they have been on their account.
If they only recently created their profile on the platform, this can be a significant problem.
Other red flags can include weird bios and few or no friends and no reviews, according to experts at VPNOverview.
That doesn’t mean someone couldn’t recently created a Facebook account to advertise on Facebook Marketplace or even Depop.
3. AVOID GIFT CARDS
Most resale platforms allow a seller to request payment using a payment method other than the default payment information entered through the site’s system.
Avoid buying something when a seller asks you to pay with a gift card.
Once they get the payment, they can ban you and never post the item you bought again, cyber pros warn.
It is said that this type of scam makes it quite hard to get your money back as gift cards are considered anonymous and cannot always be traced.
Another payment method to be wary of is PayPal Family and Friends as this is also considered a gift payment and therefore does not offer buyer protection.
Avoid this method especially on Depop, as VPNOverview experts found that sellers may claim they would like to use PayPal’s Family and Friends to avoid the selling fees.
Instead, you should always use the most trusted payment method – don’t let gift cards fool you.
VPNOverview recommends not trusting screenshots.
Apparently, scams don’t just come in the form of sales, they might even lure buyers.
That said, if you’re selling something on a resale platform like Facebook Marketplace, Depop, or Poshmark, you should also be on the lookout for scams.
Scammers have found ways to fake payment slips or receipts, which they use to tell you that you paid more than the advertised price.
Experts explained that the scammer will then ask the seller to return the overpaid amount and make a profit from the seller – however, the seller never received any money from the scammer.
Avoid sending overpaid payments until you’ve physically seen the money in your bank, pros advise.
And don’t trust the screenshots that the scammer might send.
5. TOO GOOD
Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Counterfeit designer items, so-called counterfeits, are popular on second-hand marketplaces – including vehicles.
However, it can be much more difficult to discern the quality and detail of a photo online.
In addition, when buying used items online, there is a risk that the post may even contain a catfish or a fake photo of the product.
Don’t believe the offers that seem unbelievable recommends VPNOverview.
Popular items outside of vehicles include counterfeit watches, clothing, perfumes, makeup and jewelry.