Facebook Marketplace scams to watch out for

The Facebook marketplace is a consumer-to-consumer platform where millions of users can sell and buy from each other. Facebook marketplace is free to use, and there is no charge for the sale. The only requirement to use the space is to have a Facebook account. On the marketplace, you can search for listings from your local area and view sellers' profiles near you. This makes trade more accessible, quicker, and more convenient. But this does come with risks. 

What is a scam, and why do people fall victim to it

Although Facebook has security and privacy settings in place, scams still happen. Scams and fraudsters are a big one. You can face two main risks: fraudulent listings or scams from the buyer's or seller's side. 

Unlike other selling platforms, on the Facebook marketplace, there is more communication and contact between the buyer and seller. Many scams and fraudsters are master manipulators and are very convincing.

Let's look at a few scams to watch out for on the Facebook marketplace. 

Top 5 Facebook Marketplace Scams to Watch Out For

Sending the item before payment is received

This is when an interested buyer will produce a fraudulent receipt stating that the payment has been made and asking for the goods to be sent immediately. 

Conversely, a trustworthy seller will only ask the buyer to pay in advance. A red flag to look out for is when urgency is requested on either side. When making the payment, you should either make it through the Facebook marketplace or, if you use an alternative method, do not state that it is for a friend or family as you will lose the protection that way. 

Requesting advance payments

If a seller tells you an item is popular or in high demand and asks you to place a deposit or payment in advance, do not do it. It is more likely a scam, and you will probably not see the item after you have made the payment.



Buyers are not the only ones at risk of being scammed on Facebook Marketplace; sellers should be wary. A common scam is when a buyer claims they have overpaid for the item and even has transaction proof. They will then demand to be refunded. 

Another scam is when the buyer uses a stolen credit card to pay for the item, then claims they have overpaid and demand a refund. There was no original payment in either case, but if you go ahead and refund the buyer, you will be down the refund amount, and no sale will follow. 


Defective or counterfeit items

It is difficult to detect whether an item is defective or counterfeit as it may look in perfect condition from the photograph, but it arrives broken or different to the images. There are many times when this may not be the seller's fault, but remember to check the seller's reviews, as this may be a good sign of whether you can trust the person.


People often try to sell fake items on Facebook marketplace, such as counterfeit branded clothing, shoes, cosmetics, jewellery, perfume, and so on. 

Here it is difficult to detect if it is fake or genuine just by looking at a photo. But, it's usually a fake if the selling price is a fraction of the usual cost. To ensure you buy a genuine one, request the original sales receipt, videos, and anything else you can check online. Refrain from letting a good bargain sway you. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. 


Facebook account hacking

A Facebook scam on the rise is hackers who log in to your account and direct message your friends and family in a text that plays on their emotions, seeming believable and genuine. They will ask for money for something that seems innocent but urgent. Since the messages are coming from your private account, they look more believable; many people have fallen victim to these scams. 


Our tips to avoid falling victim to Facebook scams:


  • Only use trusted payment methods 

via Facebook Messenger.


  • Keep your conversation on Facebook

Scammers like to move the conversation to another platform where they feel they have a better chance of manipulating and persuading their victim.

  • Don't send 2FA codes 

to prospective buyers, sellers or, for that matter, anyone who shouldn't have access to your profiles


  • Check buyer/seller profiles 

for user ratings, be cautious if the profiles have been created recently and do not have many friends or activities.


  • Always meet in a public place

Never meet at your house or theirs. 

Meet somewhere on a busy day, and never give out personal addresses. 

At Mama, we care. 

For any help and advice regarding our money-sending services, please WhatsApp +27 66 104 1097 or call 021 202 5420.