Learn to identify a scam before you buy or sell in online marketplaces

Both Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist have areas of their websites dedicated to helping users spot scams
Learn to identify a scam before you buy or sell in online marketplaces
Posted at 5:00 AM, Feb 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 19:40:38-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — It won’t be long before it’s time to do some spring cleaning around the house and that means more people are expected to be looking to buy and sell items in online marketplaces. It's why consumer protection experts say it's so important to be able to spot a scam on these platforms.

News5 viewer Paul Van House says trying to sell used furniture on Facebook Marketplace recently came with some challenges.

”Within 30 minutes there were five people who responded,” Van House said.

He felt this kind of a quick response was suspicious.

”They are immediately making a full price offer for used furniture that they’ve never seen other than the picture that I posted,” said Van House.

So, he took a closer look at the profiles of these potential buyers.

”They had no friends. They had very few posts and kind of generic looking pictures,” he said.

Fraud experts say taking this step is crucial in avoiding scams.

”So, studies show that about 25% of new accounts on these marketplaces have some degree of illegitimacy to them,” said CSU Global's Dr. Fraud J. Michael Skiba “If they haven’t purchased anything before and if they don’t have much of a history that should definitely be a flag as well.”

Van House says during his time looking to sell that furniture on Facebook Marketplace, people went to great lengths to try to trick him into paying them as part of the deal.

”They can make it look like it’s from PayPal, but if you look at the header you see that it’s really not," he said. "And if you’re not really careful all the time you’re going to get taken and you’ll be out the money.”

Both Facebook and Craigslist have portions of their websites dedicated to helping people identify, avoid, and respond to scams because the threat is constant.

Here are those links:

Facebook Marketplace



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