Facebook Marketplace has become one of the most popular E-commerce websites. However, you have to know some dark secrets about Facebook Marketplace before you start buying or selling your first product. These are the secrets everyone experiences, still, no one talks about them. 

Read about the 5 dark secrets and how to avoid them to have the best Facebook Marketplace experience in this article.

What is Facebook Marketplace?

Facebook Marketplace is a popular e-commerce website to browse, buy, or sell items. Any Facebook user can access the Facebook Marketplace through the app or website. 

According to  Thrive My Way as of 2022, Facebook Marketplace attracts over 2.91 billion users monthly. It is around 35% of the entire world’s population.

Currently, 70 countries have access to the Facebook Marketplace. As a result, it has become a popular E-commerce base for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) where they can showcase and sell their products. It has become so popular that some users earn €75k a year.

The Dark Side of Facebook Marketplace

You may buy products from Facebook Marketplace, but it’s not always trustworthy. Sometimes you’ll be scammed for paying in advance or paying via PayPal. You may also find counterfeit products in the Marketplace or even get deceived into buying cars!

Let’s discuss these dark sides of the Facebook marketplace below:

Facebook Marketplace isn’t as Trustworthy as You Think

Facebook is an ideal space to create virtual friendships, but you don’t know for sure if you can trust them. A similar instance applies to Marketplace. When you talk with a potential buyer or seller, be on guard. Don’t disclose your personal information or private data.

A 2022 survey states that 270 million active Facebook Marketplace accounts may be fake. These fake accounts often steal your personal information and use them for their own gain.

These scammers often have a friendly attitude when you talk with them. They may ask for your birthdate, social security number, insurance number, and so on for their verification purpose. Do not fall for this trap – you may lose everything!

A simple way to distinguish between a fake and a real user is by going through their profile. Look for their previous listings in the Marketplace to see if they have bought or sold any items. When a seller is genuine, buyers give ratings and share their experience in the comments. 

Always see the ratings before you plan to buy a product from someone. When a scammer asks for your personal details, avoid them by blocking them on Facebook. You can also use the report option to report the scammer so that Facebook can permanently delete the fake profile.

Is Paying in Advance a Good Option in Facebook Marketplace?

Paying in advance is the easiest way to get scammed.

Fraudsters often use a fake Facebook Marketplace profile and post alluring ads. These ads are frequently related to rare items that are out of production or limited stock items. You may find a brand-new PS5 for €300 or your dream car for €2,000! Such listings interest you, and you don’t question when the scammer asks for advance payment. Typically, you never receive the product you ordered.  

Avoid paying in advance at all costs. Always use Facebook Marketplace’s filters to narrow your search for local pickup, and meet the seller in public to prevent such scams. 

Moreover, consider the credibility and legitimacy of the listing before buying the item. If a product’s price is significantly lower or sounds too good to be true, it is probably not legitimate.

You can compare the price on other E-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, and so on. If a seller posts a listing of lots of particular items, chances are they might sell counterfeit products. These are an indication of something suspicious. So, be mindful of these inconsistencies before paying in advance.

The Facebook Marketplace PayPal Scams

PayPal is one of the legitimate payment methods of Facebook, and it covers Facebook’s Purchase Protection Policy. It means if you make a payment through PayPal, there will be a guarantee of getting your money back. However, there is a loophole that scammers use so that you cannot get a refund. The Purchase Protection Policy only covers regular payments. You cannot get a refund if you make payments via PayPal’s “friends and family” option.

Some frauds may want you to pay via the “friends and family” payment option. They may say,  they want to avoid PayPal’s fees on regular payments. These scammers will usually give you fake or counterfeit products. The “friends and family” option doesn’t protect your purchase, which results in no refunds!

Rather than paying via PayPal, some scammers will want you to gift cards. They can refuse to arrange an in-person meeting or show the product before payment.

Always use the payment methods that fall under the Purchase Protection Policy. Do not fall for the trickster’s sugar-coated words! Remember, if your payments are purchase protected, there is a high chance of getting your money back.

How to Tell if Facebook Marketplace Products are Legit?

One of the most popular scams on Facebook Marketplace is selling counterfeit products. That means these swindlers will sell you products that will not work. The products that you may get are close to the real product, but they will not be authentic. This often happens when you try to purchase tech products or sneakers.

The fraudulent seller knows the product is counterfeit. Yet, they want to sell the product, as you won’t get to check the item before making the payment. After paying, when you go back home, you will see the product is either fake or broken.

When you purchase an electronic item, turn on the product and test the device. Make sure the product works properly before buying the product. If the seller does not allow you to check the product or wants you to make a deal, walk away from it.  

Research the item that you hope to buy and ask for the original purchase receipt, product box, and serial number. Avoid making such a deal that includes fake, counterfeit products.

Is it Safe to Buy Cars on Facebook Marketplace?

Potential buyers often choose to use Facebook Marketplace to buy a second-hand car. The demand for vehicles on Facebook Marketplace is increasing daily. However, buyers should think twice before placing a deposit fee for a car.

Scammers often ask buyers to transfer a deposit fee to hold a car, and then they provide a fake address. When you go to the desired address, you may find nothing! This is why you never give a deposit fee before inspecting a car. Facebook’s Help Center recommends you to request your seller a VIN or Vehicle History Report from the Federal Trade Commission.  Schedule a car inspection before you buy the car.

Sometimes scammers post the same ad targeted to users in various parts of the country. When you check their Marketplace listings, you may see the same item in different states. This is a high chance of a fraudulent listing. Avoid such fraudulent listings as you can find more options in the Marketplace.

What to do if You Get Scammed?

Facebook Marketplace is prone to search for scams and remove listings that violate its policy. However, Facebook AI can’t find all the scammers.

If you get scammed, immediately report the incident and block the scammer. Here’s what you can do after a fraudulent incident:

  • Click the “Marketplace” icon in the left-hand of your screen
  • Navigate to  “Your Account”
  • Click the listing of the seller you want to report
  • Choose  the name of the seller
  • Select the three-dot icon and select “Report Seller”
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to report the seller

You can also call the police or alert the cybersecurity centre in case you lost your money.


Once in a while, you will find a seller with bad intentions. Be diligent and use the tips to navigate your way safely in this Facebook Marketplace. 

You can’t be 100% sure that you will not fall for scams. However, leaving a review of the seller and stronger oversight can highly reduce fraudulent activities.

About the author

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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