Facebook Marketplace scam warning: Be ‘cautious and suspicious’ when buying online

Martin Lewis warns of scam emails using his name

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The period after Christmas can be viewed as the perfect time to bag a bargain, but shoppers are being warned about a range of scams operating online. NetVoucherCodes.co.uk have advised Britons to buy with caution from social media sites after several scams have been reported to the police.

Tactics from fraudulent sellers and scammers include selling desirable items at a low cost, offering deals that are too good to be true, and hacking accounts by phishing for personal information that can help them commit fraud later down the line.

Shoppers have been urged to protect themselves online by doing some background research on the seller.

A spokesperson for NetVoucherCodes.co.uk said: “Sites like Facebook Marketplace are constantly searching for scams and removing listings that violate their policies, but some ads might slip through the net and sting unsuspecting shoppers.

“There are plenty of steps you can take to try and ensure a seller is legitimate, but if you ever think you have been scammed make sure you report the incident to the site and block the scammer.

“It only takes a second to report questionable profiles, ads, posts, or messages online. Every reputable selling site or social media marketplace will have an option to report on every page, post, and direct message.”

NetVoucherCodes.co.uk’s have offered up some top tips to avoid scammers when shopping online:

Too good to be true

“If an item is extremely rare, or starting to re-sell for a particularly high price, be suspicious and cautious of anyone offering the item for less. This is a popular scam, prying on those looking to get in-demand tech products, like phones and consoles, at a slightly reduced cost.

“It’s often better to spend that little extra with a reputable retailer to cover your own back.”

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Look at other listings

“Not sure if an offer is too good to be true? Or worried about the legitimacy of a seller? Have a look at a range of listings of the product on a range of sites.

“If the seller has multiple listings of the same item, but across different locations or the same thing is being offered at a range of different prices, the odds are it’s a scam.”

Keep an eye out for counterfeits

“If an item looks legit, but the price seems low for what it is, ask yourself if it could be counterfeit. Check the seller’s reviews and avoid accounts that have just been created, as this could be someone who has just been blocked.

“If you are unsure, ask for numerous images, or a well-lit video of the item and research how to tell if that product is the real deal.”

Moving platforms

“Keep conversations and transactions through trusted apps, sites, and payment methods.”

Watch out for impersonators

“Facebook alone has more than 2.85 billion active users every month, but with this many users, you can never truly be sure if someone is who they say they are… or if they just want your cash.

“Fake profiles made by cybercriminals are getting more and more sophisticated. There have been reports of clone accounts being made by impersonators who later contact listed family members or close friends through public tags.

“These accounts will have been created recently and may send links to infest your device with malware or make requests for money.”

No funds and wrongful refunds

“Sellers are susceptible to scammers too. Fraudulent buyers can use counterfeit funds to buy an item, with it only becoming clear to the seller after they have parted with the item.

“Some scammers then pay the seller more than the requested amount, claim to have made a mistake and request a partial refund. Decline any overpayments and only request payments through approved channels like PayPal.”

Avoid being caught by phishing

“Phishing for data is a common way for criminals to gain personal information about you. The information they get will be used at a later date to take part in cyber crimes, ranging from identity theft to selling data on dark web marketplaces. Be cautious about what you post online.”

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