Facebook is currently the most popular social networking platform worldwide with close to 3 billion monthly active users. Despite attracting a cult-like following, this app harbors thousands of scammers who utilize a myriad of phishing techniques to lure unsuspecting people into their ruinous traps.
Learning how to catch a scammer on Facebook can really come in handy if you’re looking to safeguard your loved ones from the prying eyes of digital fraudsters.
Why Scammers Target Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is a hot topic right now. It’s a one-stop shop for any item you’re looking to buy on a budget, from designer bags to smartphones. When this service commenced, business owners flocked there to advertise their products and sell legitimate items. Sadly, this platform is also rife with scammers masquerading as genuine traders.
Facebook fraudsters are quite common, so it’s no wonder you want to know how to catch a Facebook scam. To begin with, let’s understand why there are so many fraudsters on this platform. Facebook Marketplace attracts so many fraudsters because it’s easy for anyone to pose as a genuine merchant, list their fraudulent items and rob unwary customers. This platform also advocates for direct interaction between buyers and sellers. As such, there is no intermediary to govern your communication.
Whenever you’re shopping on Facebook Marketplace, there are some common red flags that could suggest you’re chatting with a scammer. These include:
- The seller declines to meet you in person
- Their items are suspiciously cheap
- They lack a profile picture
- The seller tries convincing you to chat outside Facebook Messenger
- The individual requests for your phone number
- The vender asks that you pay using a gift card
The best way to shop safely on the Marketplace is to keep your guard up and trust your instincts. Always ensure that you look before you leap. Ultimately, you need to report a scammer on Facebook when you come across one.
What to Do if You Get Scammed on Facebook Marketplace
Facebook regulates online transactions and protects buyers on the Marketplace using its Purchase Protection Policy. In case you get scammed while using the eCommerce platform, simply follow these tips:
- Report the Scam to Local Law Enforcement
Before escalating the issue to Facebook’s customer helpdesk, visit your local police precinct and inform them about the crime that just occurred. In addition, you should report the issue to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Alerting the authorities of the scam will not only help them nab the perpetrator, but it’ll also allow them to sensitize other citizens who might be unaware such scams exist.
- Check Whether Your Item Is Covered Under the Facebook Purchase Policy
This policy covers a variety of situations. For instance, if the product you procured was damaged or different from how it was listed, you’re eligible for a refund. You’ll also be covered if you didn’t receive the order or if someone else made the purchase without your knowledge.
- Contact Facebook to Request for a Refund
Once you’ve read the Facebook Purchase Policy and ascertained that you qualify for a refund, report the scammer on Facebook. To achieve this, click on the “Marketplace” icon and select the seller’s name. Then select “More Options” and click on “Report Seller”.
The rest should be easy: simply follow the instructions provided to report the scammer’s Facebook account.
How to Protect Yourself From Facebook Scammers
Learning how to report a scammer on Facebook is the first step to keeping them at bay. However, there are several measures you can implement to protect yourself from such scammers. These include:
- Check user ratings prior to making any purchase. Do your due diligence by investigating the seller’s profile and check for anything suspicious like long bouts of inactivity and bizarre FB posts.
- Enable 2FA. Two-factor authentication prevents hackers from accessing your accounts and should be enabled on all your online platforms.
- Inspect items carefully before buying them. Ensure that the products aren’t damaged and work properly. You should be completely satisfied with your purchase.
- Google the seller’s email address if they appear suspicious. If they’re linked to shady websites and dubious listings, avoid interacting with them since they could be scammers.
- Activate fraud alerts on your bank account and credit card. Such alerts notify you whenever someone tries accessing your bank info using any social media scam.
- Decline overpayments promptly. Some buyers will pretend to inadvertently send too much money for a product you listed. Rather than sending them any refunds, simply decline the transaction.
- Use a reputable payment method. The best way to pay is using cash. However, other digital payment methods such as PayPal could also work ─ just don’t choose the “friends and family” option.
- Install a strong antivirus on your devices. In case you unintentionally click a spam link, the antivirus will provide sufficient protection from ransomware and other viruses.
It’s imperative that you report a scammer on Facebook once you come across one. More importantly, train your loved ones to spot these scammers when they’re shopping on Facebook Marketplace and similar platforms. Hopefully, the tips discussed above will help you to take better care of yourself.