Facebook Marketplace: How to Buy and Sell Safely

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Facebook Marketplace: How to Buy and Sell Safely – If you’re looking for a decent deal on holiday presents or considering selling any of your old items to fund a shopping spree, Facebook Marketplace is a good alternative to yard sales and flea markets.

The Marketplace, like every other online or offline trade, attracts its fair share of swindlers and scammers. So, here are some pointers for turning Facebook’s Marketplace into a source of delight rather than deceit. Facebook Marketplace: How to Buy and Sell Safely

What is Facebook Marketplace?

In October 2016, Facebook launched Marketplace, and by May 2017, more than 18 million items had been listed for sale in the United States alone. Since then, the service has expanded to other countries, and Facebook reports that search volume in the Marketplace tab has risen threefold globally since the beginning of 2017, with over 550 million users participating in monthly buy and sell groups.

The basic concept is simple: Facebook shows a range of items for sale in your region based on details from your profile, as well as the option to list your own products for sale. When a customer sees an item they want to purchase, they contact the seller via Facebook Messenger to arrange for the transaction to be completed. Using Messenger, traders can conduct business without disclosing their addresses or phone numbers, and Facebook does not charge a fee for the service. Facebook Marketplace: How to Buy and Sell Safely

The marketplace is easy to use. In the left column of your Facebook homepage or at the bottom of the Facebook smartphone app, click the Marketplace button. There will be a slew of pictures of items for sale, each with a price tag. Explore the site or use the filters to narrow down your search by item type, price, and so on. Click the blue “Sell Something” button and fill out the form if you want to sell something. Selling with the mobile app saves you time because it allows you to take a picture of your item and add it to the listing without having to save and upload photos.

Be Smart in the Marketplace

Here are five pointers to help you have a good and secure experience on Facebook Marketplace:

  1. Use a credit card or secure electronic payment service for all transactions. Due to the lack of a built-in payment mechanism on the Marketplace, you must negotiate payments directly with the other party in a transaction. Untrustworthy sellers may insist on cash, gift cards, or other untraceable payment methods, while dishonest buyers may offer worthless gift cards. Card issuers and payment processors, such as PayPal (but not its sister app Venmo), will investigate fraud complaints on your behalf as a client, and they also have greater transaction security for sellers. Reputable Marketplace traders would value the use of secure networks, which would benefit both legitimate buyers and sellers. Facebook Marketplace: How to Buy and Sell Safely
  2. Avoid transactions that don’t involve local buyers/sellers. Facebook, in general, will only show you, potential buyers and sellers, in your immediate vicinity. (The radius may be set to as little as two miles or as far as 100 miles, but the default is 40 miles.) If a vendor promises to have an item shipped from a greater distance away, there is a risk the order will not arrive or will not be what was intended. Also, if a buyer requests that you ship an item over a long distance, particularly internationally, consider declining: Once the object is in transit and irretrievable by you, the customer will cancel the charge. Facebook Marketplace: How to Buy and Sell Safely
  3. Check out buyer/seller profiles. Look at the seller’s profile under “seller stats” when you click on an item for sale. Check Facebook to see if you have any mutual friends and that they live in your neighborhood. This may be a red flag if they’ve only been on Facebook for a short time or have a limited number of followers. Also, perform a Facebook search for their name; if you come across several profiles with the same name and image, this may be a red flag.
  4. Inspect before making payment. Check that you can “see the goods” before authorizing payment for an item. Bring along an expert to determine the value of the piece, whether it is jewelry or a collectible. If it’s electronic, plug it in or change the batteries and make sure it’s operational.
  5. Meet the buyer/seller in a public place. To finalize transfers, some police agencies allow people to meet in their station lobbies or parking lots; if this is not feasible, select a public venue such as a coffee shop or restaurant. Bring a friend, and if you’re feeling bold, record or photograph the conversation so you can easily identify the other party if there are any disputes later

See Also:

When something’s not right

When doing business on Facebook Marketplace, you are no more (or less) likely to come across shady characters than you are in the real world or when buying and selling items on sites like eBay and Craigslist. Keep an eye out for red flags and leave if something seems off. Facebook Marketplace: How to Buy and Sell Safely

If you are ever a victim of a scam, you should take the following actions:

  • Follow the measures outlined here if you suspect a Facebook Marketplace scammer.
  • Inform law enforcement if you believe you have been duped. Notify the local authorities, and consider reporting the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). While the FBI does not promise to follow up on all cases, registering scams helps in the detection of fraud trends and patterns that can help in the prosecution of cyber-crooks.

Facebook Marketplace can be a fun and exciting place to find offers. You’re more likely to have a good Marketplace experience if you’re on the lookout for potential scams as well as bargains. Have a good time shopping!

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