How to be safe when buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace

Avoid meeting at your house and paying cash

Facebook Marketplace can be a great place to find a deal. But, you can also find trouble. Following safety advice can help protect you and your money.

The amount consumers have lost to all types of social media fraud grows every year. In 2021 alone it was $770 million. But no matter how sophisticated scammers are, there are ways to protect yourself.

Think about where the sale will take place. Safety advocates say to meet in a public, well-lit area, never your home. Consider a police station. Also, never go alone and always let somebody know of your meeting plans.

As for payment, carrying cash, especially a lot of cash, is risky. Facebook Marketplace recommends a secure person-to-person payment method such as PayPal.

But Consumer Reports says not all P2P apps are the same.

“Don’t just assume that their default settings are ones that manage your privacy and security, and that they have the best policies for helping you get your money back in case of an error,” said Consumer Reports’ Delicia Reynolds Hand.

Consumer Reports looked at four popular peer-to-peer apps—Apple Cash, Cash App, Venmo, and Zelle—and found that none of them reimburse users for sending money to the wrong person or sending too much money by mistakenly adding extra digits to an intended amount.

Michelle Concha is a frequent Facebook Marketplace shopper. Her tip? Take a peek at the seller’s profile.

“I actually bought a car on Marketplace,” she said. “And, it’s because we had people in common in the area that I felt actually more secure about buying the car from that person.”

When buying a car online, it’s wise to run a Carfax report to make sure the vehicle isn’t stolen.

And Consumer Reports says some scammers lurking on Facebook Marketplace aren’t after your money: They’re after your data. Never share personal information like your postal address, email address, or phone number.

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About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.