Facebook Marketplace is an excellent site for users to sell their merchandise without being charged massive fees for the privilege like other platforms. It’s also the perfect location for bargain-hunters looking to buy second-hand items at affordable prices. However, the marketplace has become a breeding ground for scammers.
In this article, we will unveil how scammers are using the platform’s Cash App to steal sellers’ hard-earned money. We will also look at some of the ways you can protect yourself against these scams. Keep reading to learn more.
Cash App Scam Facebook Marketplace
Cash App is a popular payment processor that lets you instantly receive money from and send money to family and friends. Over time, it’s also become a viable option for receiving payments for business transactions as well. However, many scammers are now using it to rip off sellers and generally anyone online. Cash App scammers usually target sellers who have listed expensive items, but this doesn’t make those selling inexpensive items an exception.
How Does the Cash App Scam Work?
So, how exactly does the Cash App Facebook Marketplace scam work?
If you’re a seller on the Facebook Marketplace, a buyer will request to purchase an item from you. After that, they’ll request to pay for the item using the Cash App. Nothing wrong with that, right? After all, Cash App is a popular payment gateway that helps millions worldwide transact instantly. To make the deal hard for a seller to resist, some buyers will offer to pay more than what the item is listed for. Sometimes they’ll also offer to pay for the shipping fee plus the insurance fee should the item need to be insured. At this point, the deal is just too good to resist, so you accept. What could go wrong?
To appear to be a genuine buyer, the scammer will request that you send them the pictures of the item you’re trying to sell. Afterward, they’ll request that you send them your email address so they can verify their payment. Alternatively, they may come up with another trick to get you to send them the email address you used to create your Cash App account.
After sending them your email address, they’ll tell you that the payment was successful from their end, and you should receive a payment notification from your email shortly. This should already be a red flag because the Cash App always pushes notifications from the app every time you get a payment. You don’t need to go to your email to confirm if a payment was successful.
Later, you’ll receive an email notification stating you’ve received a payment. But there’s a catch. The email is not from the Cash App system but from the scammer. You won’t receive any payment notification from the Cash App as you usually would with other transactions.
Fortunately, identifying a fake email is relatively easy. Here are some pointers that will let you know whether an email is fake or spam:
- A slew of grammatical mistakes
- Capitalization of certain words
- They are from personal emails using a mail client like Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook. An official name should end with a dedicated domain name of the company
- It doesn’t contain your name or anything that identifies with you
- The design of the email is too basic and quirky
- They try to rush you into taking action
If you’re not careful, you’ll think that you have genuinely received payment for your product and will rush to ship it to the scammer. As a result, you’ll lose your merchandise and the money you were supposed to receive. Afterward, the scammer will probably block you on email and social media and cut off any form of communication between you two.
How to Identify and Avoid Scammers on Facebook Marketplace
While scammers flood the Facebook Marketplace, it’s surprisingly easy to identify and avoid them. Here are some common ways to know that a buyer is a potential scammer
They’re using a fake profile on their Facebook page – Considering how easy it is to create a Facebook account, it’s not unheard of for scammers to own multiple fake accounts. Fortunately, it’s super easy to identify a fake Facebook account. Usually, the profile picture and the cover photo are stock images. The accounts also have none or very few friends, and they are newly created. While these signs don’t automatically flag an account as a scam, they can be beneficial in evaluating if you’re talking to a scammer.
They offer to pay more than what the product is worth – Most buyers will try to bargain for a cheaper deal. Therefore, if a buyer is offering to pay more than what the product is worth, that should set off your scam bells.
They refuse to meet up in person – It’s always recommended that, if possible, you meet the potential buyer in a mutual public location that is well-lit (preferably near a police station) so you can securely exchange goods and payments. However, scammers will try to dodge this process because they fear getting caught. They’ll try their best to devise an excuse not to meet you in person. However, sometimes a buyer might have genuine reasons for not wanting to meet up. Therefore, judge the situation accordingly.
They request to pay using methods currently not supported by the Facebook Marketplace – Facebook Marketplace tries to regulate the trading on the platform by offering protection for both the buyer and the seller. Usually, scammers will ask to pay with an option that Facebook doesn’t provide protection for, for example, Cash App and Zelle.
They’ll ask for your email address – This is perhaps the riskiest option on the list because it’s the final execution point for most Cash App scammers. They’ll try to make up an excuse so they can access your email. Afterward, this is the email they’ll use to send you a fake payment notification. For that reason, it’s always best to keep your personal information like emails, passwords, credit card info, and home addresses hidden from scammers.
What Should You Do After You’ve Been Scammed?
So, you realized you’ve been scammed. What next? Well, you can do a couple of things after you’ve been scammed. Here are some of them:
- Report the criminal activity to the nearby law enforcement body immediately – Scamming people online is a felony in most countries, and those who engage in it should be reported to the police to bring them to justice.
- Report the scammer’s account to Facebook– If you’ve been scammed, report the account to Facebook so they can take appropriate action. The Facebook team will request that you send evidence proving the buyer tried to scam you. If they find it sufficient, they’ll block that user account from ever accessing Facebook.
Is Cash App Safe for Facebook Marketplace?
Having learned about the horror stories of scammers using the Cash App image and reputation to steal sellers’ merchandise, is it still safe to use it for accepting business payments? Well, it depends. Cash App itself is a safe option for sending and receiving money. It’s also best for business payments because the buyer can’t cancel the payment after receiving the merchandise.
However, as a seller, you might want to be careful when dealing with buyers who pay you through the app. For instance, make sure that transactions are correctly reflected in your Cash App before shipping the merchandise. Don’t trust the phishing emails you receive from scammers; to stay on the safe side of things, don’t share the email address associated with your Cash App account with anyone.
While Cash App is safe for use to some extent, it’s recommended that you use the payment methods supported by Facebook Marketplace like PayPal and Facebook Cashout. Using these methods gives both the buyer and the seller some level of protection in case one party decides to back out from the deal.
Don’t Be the Next Victim
While Cash App can be a fast and easy way to receive payments, scammers are now using it to rip off sellers of their hard-earned money. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to identify and avoid scammers who are trying to con you on Facebook Marketplace. In fact, limiting your payment methods to PayPal and Facebook Cashout is half the battle, as these payment gateways provide you some level of protection when transacting online.
Are you a seller on the Facebook Marketplace? Have you dealt with a scammer before? Please share with us your experience in the comments section below.
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