Fake Money, No-Shows, and Other Reasons Not To Use Facebook Marketplace

Female hand flipping through fistful of dollars


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Bargain or Bust

Here’s a shocking proclamation: Social media isn’t always what it seems. That includes using a social networking site, specifically Facebook Marketplace, for buying and selling. The internet is filled with scammers, ready to list fake items, steal from buyers and sellers, and make something look like a deal that actually is overpriced. Before you go all in on Facebook Marketplace, here are five ways it may not be a bargain.

Related: 12 Things You Should Never Buy on Facebook Marketplace

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Facebook Marketplace can be a scam cesspool, so it’s worth keeping an eye open when you go into any deal. One look on Reddit and you’ll see plenty of people sharing their horror stories.

“Once a local pickup buyer paid by fake bills sandwiched with real ones. I counted the money but didn't check one by one well. Only realized when ATM rejected to take them in," shares a Redditor.

Facebook Marketplace lists a number of other tips to keep your money safe, such as never sharing financial or personal information.

Related: 10 Area Codes You Should Never Answer (Plus Other Tips)

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Wasted Time

It’s all too common to list an item for sale on Facebook Marketplace, receive interest, schedule a pick-up … and then, nada. The interested person simply disappears, never to be heard from again. Also, if you completed a transaction and are asked for additional payments for shipping, beware: That’s another common scam where you probably won't get your item. 

Related: Watch Out for These Scams Targeting Seniors

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Trust Issues

Anything you buy through Facebook Marketplace isn’t protected — you’re going by trust. There is purchase protection if you are sending money through a direct Facebook shop that needs to be shipped. But if you’re buying something for local pickup or using Zelle, PayPal, Apple Pay, or Venmo, and something happens — you’re out of luck.

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Safety Concerns

You shouldn't have to worry about your personal safety every time you buy or sell something. Facebook recommends that if you're meeting someone in person, you should do it in a public, well-lit area. The company also suggests that you share information about your meeting plans with someone trusted through instant messaging so that there’s a record. 

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Why does it always seem like the item you agreed to buy looks dirtier or more “used” once you get it? Or there's the “bait and switch” method, where an item is listed low, then the seller tries to get you to buy the same product at a higher price. It’s good to do some research on a seller before you jump in. 

Facebook Marketplace recommends studying the seller’s commerce profile to learn more about them. You should be able to see friends you may have in common, as well as their Marketplace activity, like other listings and reviews.