As much as the internet provides resources to buy and sell, it also provides many opportunities for scams. Selling on popular apps like Facebook marketplace and OfferUp is no different. So in this post, we will specifically go over phishing scams, what they look like, and how to spot them so that you can avoid and report these scammers.
Phishing Scams On Facebook Marketplace And OfferUp
Facebook marketplace and Offerup are great places to buy and sell items that are normally too large to ship. Bulky items like furniture, appliances, and sports equipment are convenient to sell locally. However, both platforms are littered with phishing scams.
Scammers will try to send you a link for you to click. They will then use that to steal your personal information, including your bank, credit cards, and passwords. Make sure you don’t click on any links that are sent to you. Let’s go over what phishing looks like on both Facebook marketplace and OfferUp.
Text Message Scams
The first method that scammers use to phish is through text messages. They will ask you for your phone number and text you something like this. Here’s an example of a text that we received.
The irony should not be lost that they’re using other people being fake to verify you. A legitimate buyer should be asking about the item or arrange a pickup. What’s more, this was for a $20 purchase, not for hundreds of dollars.
You will also notice that the text message also does not make sense. This is not due to grammatical errors but the fact that it is already a text message. But they want you to click on something and then they will text you? Everything about this interaction screams a scam.
The rule of thumb is that you do not give out your phone number when selling on Facebook marketplace or OfferUP. Both platforms offer the means to communicate directly. While you can make your best judgment about giving your phone number in certain cases, phone calls are generally not required for a sale.
Facebook Messenger Scams
Another type of phishing scam comes from Facebook messenger. Here is an interaction we had recently.
There are a couple of red flags when it comes to this message. The most obvious ones are how the word “ok” is spelled. Each “ok” has a different variation. If you think about how you or most people type, they don’t switch around how to spell a word in three different ways.
The second is not being able to reply to why they need the phone number. Not to mention, the rest of the message doesn’t make sense. If you attempt to click on their profile, there is nothing to be found.
But the last telling clue is actually when this person reached out. You will see that they said, “Is this item still available?”. If you go on any post on Facebook marketplace, you will notice that Facebook Messenger already has a pre-written message without you having to type in anything. Here is an example.
That means the scammers earlier have written a code to send to multiple people, instead of using the messenger’s preset communication. Sometimes these scammers play the number game. That means, they will send the same message to anyone with a brand new listing.
Even if most people catch on that they’re trying to phish, there may be one or a few out of a hundred messages that they send where they catch someone who unfortunately believes them. That is why there are many horror stories out there.
What To Do If You Received A Phishing Links
If you received any phishing links, whether that is through email, text message, or any messengers, make sure to report their account. Facebook has instructions here to report scammers, whether they are a buyer or a seller. But the best course of action is to report it to the Federal Trade Commission where they have instructions to report phishing attacks.
The Federal Trade Commission also has instructions to protect yourself from phishing and what to do if you responded to a phishing email.
Facebook marketplace nor OfferUp are not unique to scams, including phishing scams. Unfortunately any app or service that is popular enough attracts people that are trying to scam others.
While both platforms may do their part to make the services they offer secure, they may not have enough resources to prevent scams from happening. It is important to know that scams are out there and what they look like so that you can protect yourself.