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Thu Sept 30 2021 11:44:32

How Bad Is Fraud on Facebook Marketplace?

By: Ina Steiner

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Facebook Marketplace faced scrutiny over fraud in a September 22nd article in ProPublica titled, "Facebook Grew Marketplace to 1 Billion Users. Now Scammers Are Using It to Target People Around the World," by Craig Silverman, A.C. Thompson and Peter Elkind.

"As Marketplace users lose money to scams and dubious products, Facebook earns revenue thanks to a range of increasingly profitable Marketplace advertisements that appear alongside free Marketplace listings," it reported.

Among the ways Facebook fights fraud on Marketplace, according to the article:

- It uses software that scans each listing for signs of fraud or other suspicious signals before it goes live.

- It uses 400 outsourced workers who respond to user complaints and review listings flagged by the software.

ProPublica published a companion piece the same day, "How to Avoid Being Scammed on Facebook Marketplace" by Craig Silverman, Chris Morran, and Maya Eliahou.

It provides comprehensive tips for buyers - and for sellers. The first tip for sellers references "the Google Voice scam" - if a buyer asks for your phone number and says they will have a code sent to it to verify you are a real person, beware!

The main article states, "Much of the commerce on Marketplace is perfectly legitimate," and point out that all marketplaces and platforms that connect local buyers and sellers experience problems with user safety, fraud, and other crimes.

"Facebook, eBay and Craigslist, among others, do not disclose data about fraudulent listings on their sites. Craigslist did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Amazon and eBay said they don't allow stolen goods or scams on their platforms."

We'd be interested in hearing from readers how different Facebook Marketplace is from sites like eBay and Amazon when it comes to fraud. Did the article paint an accurate picture, and have you ever been scammed as a buyer or seller on an online platform?

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Readers Comments

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by: ValueAddedResource This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 30 12:04:18 2021

I would love to see ProPublica do a deep dive on triangulation fraud on eBay.  I have personally experienced it to the tune of $165K+ in losses and reported over 150 likely compromised accounts being used in the fraud to eBay.

eBay's PROACT department referenced in that article is a joke - they dragged their feet, obfuscated and eventually just stopped responding.

Also worth noting - an eBay category manager admitted to me that eBay has been aware of this kind of fraud on the site for years, $160k was not a surprising figure, and in fact several "very large" (in his words) companies quit selling on eBay after being targeted by it.

I've since spoken to multiple other sellers who have also been victims of this fraud on eBay and the story is always the same - eBay just shrugs their shoulders and says "nothing we can do about it."

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by: COVID-19 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 30 13:12:34 2021

Are pirated / illegal copies / counterfeits considered "scam"? Because there sure are plenty of those on eBay but it doesn't take any actions on them. Lamebay is run by worthless automations.

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by: Opalie This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 3 17:31:45 2021

"Amazon and eBay said they don't allow stolen goods or scams on their platforms."

That statement alone is hysterical

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 4 01:13:05 2021

Facebook wants so badly to get into the ecommerce business.  So badly to be Ebay or Amazon and it's finding that the problems those sites had with fraud and scam works on their site.  I don't do FB Marketplace.  It's too new, and I don't like the way FB operates anyway.  

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by: Markdownsandmore This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 4 07:32:08 2021

The most pervasive scam on FB MP right now appears to be where a new item valued at hundreds of dollars (e.g. golf club set, bicycle, etc.) is offered at $99 with free shipping. The buyer pays and then receives a tracking number several days later. Tracking shows that the package was delivered to their zip code but they never received anything. There is so much hassle involved in trying to prove they didn’t get what they bought so they just walk away from the $99.  

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by: cvsharkey This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 4 07:38:06 2021

I stick to local items for sale only. But I don't buy often. It has worked out. I've also talked to hand-crafters who have had their product photos stolen & ads put up on FB for those products. When asked if the advertiser was able to produce & deliver those products--I was told NO. So it's not only FB marketplace, but includes the side-bar paid ads as well. Most are placed by companies outside of the US.

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by: Gumball This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 4 11:03:18 2021

Facebook has the most scams of any site out there. Not only on their marketplace which advertises items that will never be delivered,  Paypal will not cover any purchases that are made on Facebook.
Facebook not only run fraudulent ads on their marketplace for merchandise that does not exits, they also run thousand of ads that are used to gain people's information for getting their information and inserting viruses into their computer to get their password. Ads on how to get more in Social Security. Check here to see if your information was part of some data breach. Once you give your name and social security number, you are toast. They also run fake ads for movie stars that have died, that in real life have not died. Ads for celebrities on how they died or lived are big time fraud right now. Click on the links given and you will give them access to your computer, phone or whatever you use to browse the site.
They also clone Facebook users names. You can report the ads, but they still run them. I feel that Congress needs to step in and Fine Facebook  a billion dollars or more because that is how much money has been scammed off their fake ads. My son lost $100 on a guitar. That guitar ad ran for months despite the complaints, and the comments on the ad that the ad was fake.  None of the big sites are very good at protecting their sellers, buyers, or community, and mostly because we have no Legislation. Everyone of the big sites make money, no matter if the item never existed, the buyer claims they did not get it, or was used and returned, or if only an empty box was returned.    

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by: DevilishlySarky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 4 11:50:52 2021

Most of the "sponsored" ads telling you XXXX has gone into liquidation and they're selling off a grands worth of tools for £100 - or a bike for $50  are easy enough to spot - but its the idiots who ACTUALLY  believe this ;  that's the problem - and they ought to know better  

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by: CBW This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 4 12:07:22 2021

If more cases were filed against these scammers and the government prosecuted them this would all end real quick.  

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by: selling stuff This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 4 12:07:28 2021

This may seem very cold-hearted but it is JMHO.

If you are stupid enough to enter your name & social security number to reply to an ad on FB then I am sorry you deserve everything you get.

You would have had to live under a rock to have not heard at least a hundred times over the past few years that this is a bad idea & that you should only give out this information to sources that are known to you.

Unfortunately, there will always be people who want to get something for nothing because they feel they have been "victimized by the system so I am entitled". Scammers are well aware of this mentality & they are more than happy to take advantage of these people's stupidity.

I am not on FB so I have never bought or sold anything there but if I did it would be a strictly local cash deal for sure.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: MainelyVintage

Mon Oct 4 12:34:58 2021

Facebook? What is that??



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