You may or not be familiar with the Facebook Marketplace. For those who are not, here is the scoop... It's basically an online yardsale. That may be simplifying things a bit, but basically, if you have something you want to sell, you list it, and people who are interested in buying the item contact you within the Facebook platform. Think of eBay or Craigslist. They all have similarities.

A new scam will rip you off through the Facebook Marketplace...

Just like with all other good things that are online, someone eventually finds a way to take advantage of the system and rip you off from afar. The Facebook Marketplace has now fallen victim to a new scam that can knock you for a wallop if you're not careful.

Peer-to-peer payment apps are utilized to pull off the scam...

The scam is perpetrated using various peer-to-peer payment apps such as Zelle, Venmo, CashApp, or any of the several of them that are out there in cyberspace.




The scam explained...

Here is a brief summary of the scam...

The buyer says that they are going to pay you through one of the payment apps that are available... for the sake of argument, we will say that they are using Zelle. Shortly after receiving the payment, you get an email, supposedly from Zelle. Allegedly, the buyer paid via a Zelle “business account.” At this point, you are prompted that you have to upgrade your account to business status to accept the transfer. Here is where they get you... To make that happen, the buyer will need to send you another $300. They are happy to do you a favor - if you promise to refund them. GOTCHA!


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This is one user's experience in their own words from a media release from the Better Business Bureau that serves Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont:

I received an email from explaining that the funds were waiting, but the buyer had to send an additional $300 in order to upgrade my account because the transaction was over $600, and I would need a business account.” The scammer then “sent” the extra funds and included screenshots of his Zelle app with the money deducted from his account. Then, he started pressuring the victim into repaying him: “He was very upset and persistent that I needed to pay him back for the fees that he incurred on my behalf.


The scam is basically this... when you refund the buyer the $300, you find out that they never sent you any money, to begin with, and now you are out $300.


The BBB offers these tips to avoid being ripped off:


  • Don’t trust anyone who is willing to overpay you.
  • Check email addresses carefully. It's usually easy to tell if they are phony.
  • Get to know payment app policies before you use them.
  • Report any scams to the Facebook Marketplace.


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