BBB warns of scam targeting Facebook Marketplace sellers

Scam (file)
Scam (file)(MGN)
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 11:21 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Better Business Bureau is issuing a new warning for people selling big-ticket items on Facebook Marketplace.

The scam involves alleged buyers asking sellers to “upgrade” their digital wallet in order to accept money for the transaction, according to a BBB press release sent Wednesday.

The scammers quickly contact sellers after they list an expensive item worth several hundred dollars on Facebook Marketplace. The buyer says they want to use a peer-to-peer payment app. So far, most reports from the scam involve the buyer referencing Zelle, but other apps like Venmo or CashApp could also be used.

Shortly after the transaction, victims get an email supposedly from the app they used, saying the buyer paid via a “business account.” The email says in order for the seller to receive the money, they must upgrade to a business account. To do so, the buyer offers to send another $300 as a “favor” for completing the upgrade, as long as the seller agrees to pay it back.

The scammer “sends” the extra funds, even including screen shots from their app showing money deducted from their account. Afterwards, the buyer starts pressuring the seller into repaying them.

The catch to all this - the buyer never actually sent any money in the first place. So if the seller “repays” the $300, they will be out that money.

The BBB offered the following tips to avoid scams when selling online:

Don’t trust anyone willing to overpay you. Unless your item is rare and you receive multiple offers, be wary of buyers offering you more than your asking price. Consider it a red flag if someone is quick to send you more money than you are asking.

Check email addresses carefully. If you seem to have received an email from Zelle or another payment app, double-check the email address. Scammers use fake email addresses that resemble official ones.

Get to know payment app policies before you use them. If someone claims you need a business account to accept payments, check the apps official website or contact customer service to find out if the claim is true. Scammers often make up fake policies to trick their victims.

Report scams to Facebook Marketplace. If you spot a seller trying to pull off a scam, report them. Your report can help protect other unsuspecting sellers.

Copyright 2022 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.