How to tell if Facebook Marketplace buyer is legit

How to tell if Facebook marketplace buyer is legit

You need to know how to tell if Facebook marketplace buyer is legit. Otherwise, you could be swindled and never get to see the money or even get your item back.

Facebook Marketplace may be a helpful platform for users who want to buy and sell. However, it is also a hot spot for scammers.

Usually, to avoid Facebook Marketplace scams, you want to know if the buyer is legit. And if you find out a buyer is a scam, or if you’ve been scammed, you can always report the fraudulent activity to authorities immediately.

How to tell if Facebook marketplace buyer is legit

How to tell if Facebook marketplace buyer is legit
A Facebook Marketplace buyer conversation

The following guidelines will help you tell if Facebook Marketplace buyer is legit:

1. Buyer refuses to meet you

It’s a sign that a buyer is not legit if they refuse to meet you in person, such as holding a video call. A legit buyer on Facebook Marketplace will agree to hold a video conversation or even make plans to see you (if they reside locally).

Facebook is designed for local transactions anyway, so a buyer should also be willing to physically meet you in a safe location.

2. Buyer refuses cash payment

Since Facebook Marketplace is designed for local transactions, cash payment is the best option. A potential scam will request to pay using a gift card—this payment method may be an easy way to get paid but it’s a sign the buyer is not legit.

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Even PayPal payment is not acceptable anyways. Reason: a buyer can eventually file a dispute and get their money back without returning the item.

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PayPal will only offer protection to a seller if they have tracking. Thus, if you don’t have a tracking number from any of PayPal’s supported carriers, the swindler wins the dispute because PayPal favors senders or buyers.

3. You’re asked to use a different platform

A buyer who refuses to engage with you over Facebook Messenger but directs you to a different website to complete the purchase may not be legit. Legit buyers are okay using Facebook to complete the transaction.

You should also look out for a fake account though. A buyer’s Facebook profile could be fake but you may be able to tell a fake account by looking at the nature of the profile, including:

  • activities on their timeline
  • their photo upload and post dates
  • Facebook friends list
  • your instincts

4. Buyer offers to pay more for the item

A buyer who offers to pay more could be a scam, which helps to tell if Facebook Marketplace buyer is legit. If you ask why they offer to pay more for your item, they’ll provide flimsy, elaborate narratives that don’t add up. For example, the con man may say, “I’m trying to encourage you to keep your business up.” Some will say that they are wealthy and looking to bless you.

The truth is that the buyer will never send the money to you. Instead, you will be asked to send in a certain amount for them to send you the promised cash. In some other cases, they send you a fake check with so much money that tempts you to do as they say.

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5. Buyer’s email address/phone number cited in fraud incidents

In many cases, scammers list the same email address or phone number, even on Facebook. Just search their phone number or email to know if it has been reported for fraud.

You can use a search engine like Google or Yahoo to search the phone number or email address to see if anyone has reported it in the past as a scam to tell if Facebook Marketplace buyer is legit. If yes, the buyer is a scammer.

6. Buyer refuses to use the Facebook checkout for the transaction

Facebook checkout allows customers to buy items directly from a shop on Facebook or Instagram. As a seller, you can set up an e-commerce store on Marketplace and ship items to customers who pay using Facebook’s checkout.

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A buyer who refuses to make payment via Facebook checkout may not be legit. Usually, they suggest a platform like PayPal where Facebook’s Purchase Protection does not apply. And if you eventually ship that product with a tracking number, the buyer can file a PayPal dispute such as item “not as described”. If you can’t provide clear proof and a tracking number, PayPal will initiate a chargeback. Unfortunately, multiple chargebacks can put a hold on your account or even result in a PayPal limit.

7. Buyer asks for your phone number or email address

This is not to say that your phone number may not be needed in some cases. However, if the buyer says they need your phone number for verification and not a call, it could be a scam.

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Here’s what happens: when you provide your registered phone number or email to the buyer, they simply try to log into your Facebook account and click “Forgot password”.

Facebook will then send you a code—the scammer then claims that they’ve sent you a verification code to be sure you’re legit! Once you give them that code, they steal your account—whether it be your email or your Facebook account.

Helpful tips to protect yourself

  • Do not ship an item before receiving full payment—Facebook.
  • Make sure to clearly communicate the shipping timeline, carrier (example: FedEx), delivery status, and tracking information to the buyer.
  • Only accept a payment method that offers seller protection. Go through the terms of use to be sure that your transaction is covered.
  • If possible, accept cash only by selling to locals only.

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