Facebook Marketplace is a free service on Facebook where millions of people buy and sell all manner of goods  Often people can get some tremendous bargains and sellers can get an easy, low cost way to sell things.  Around this time of year, we often see an increase in use of Facebook Marketplace as some people use it to sell unwanted gifts they received during the holiday season.  Again, as always, anything popular with many people is popular with scammers and there are a number of scams related to Facebook Marketplace

Counterfeit goods selling for ridiculously low prices are a constant threat.  Another scam involves buyers sending fake receipts or screenshots that indicate that the payment has been made by the scammer to you if you are listing something for sale on Facebook Marketplace.  A third scam often appearing on Facebook Marketplace is when the scammer pays you for something you have listed on Facebook Marketplace with a check in excess of the amount you are owed and asks you to wire him or her the balance.  Of course, the check the scammer uses to pay you is a counterfeit check, but the money you wire the scammer from your bank account is not so you lose your money.


The old saying still holds, “if it looks too good to be true, it usually is.”  Always be skeptical if someone is offering to sell at a ridiculously low price something you know from your research should be selling for a much higher price.  It is also a good practice to actually meet the seller in a public place and examine the goods before buying them.

When you are selling something on Facebook Marketplace it is a good policy to use the official Facebook Marketplace payment method or PayPal in order to confirm that payment has actually been made.  When making a payment, never use Zelle, Venmo or gift cards.

The counterfeit overpayment check is a feature of a myriad of scams, but at its core it is always the same.  You receive a legitimate looking check and deposit it into your bank account.  After a few days it appears as if the check has cleared, but in truth you only have received provisional credit as required by federal law.  Once the check bounces, the provisional credit is removed from your account and if you have already wired money to the scammer, it is gone forever.  There is never a legitimate reason to accept a check for more than what is owed you and to send back the balance.

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