What to know before you buy on Facebook Marketplace

People have lost $2.7 billion to social media scams since 2021

SAN ANTONIO – You can find plenty of good deals shopping through social media. You can also get scammed. Following certain practices can help protect you and your money.

“I actually bought a car on Marketplace,” said Michelle Concha.

Buying a car from a stranger may not typically be recommended, but Concha had done her homework.

“Because we had people in common in the area, I felt actually more secure about buying the car from that person,” she said.

Concha was successful, but other people have lost more than $2.7 billion dollars to social media scams since 2021.

Some scammers lurking on Facebook Marketplace aren’t after your money, though. They want your data.

To protect yourself, Consumer Reports offers the following advice:

First, never share personal information like your address, email or phone number. Only communicate through Facebook Messenger.

Next, meet in a public, well-lit area. Consider a police substation.

Third, don’t use cash. Facebook Marketplace recommends using a secure person-to-person payment method. Even then, you need to be careful.

“You always want to make sure that you’re sending money to the right person before you send the full amount. So here’s one tip. Send a $1 test payment first, then make sure that that person received it,” said Lisa Gill of Consumer Reports.

For big money purchases, like the car Concha bought, pay the old-fashioned way and get a cashier’s check.

About the Author

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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