Michigan Facebook Marketplace Messiness: Tips to Avoid Being Scammed
Facebook Marketplace truly is a great tool and great use of the app that people in Michigan communities love to use.
Sure, we've had Craigslist for decades and Marketplace kind of has a similar basic function, but there's something that feels a little less "scammy" about it, right? Well, maybe not always...
The Ways Marketplace "Works"
Basically, anyone with a Facebook account can access Facebook Marketplace and buy, sell or trade things, services, etc. to their heart's content. Seems pretty straightforward.
What's nice about it, too, is you can directly message people you are either selling or buying with, check out their profiles to make sure they are a real person and, often, they are someone in your community and it all seems pretty easy-peasy.
It works for a lot of people because it is pretty low-maintenance, that is until the scammers still find a way to scam and really throw you for a loop.
Scammers on Facebook Marketplace
I have not sold much on Marketplace, in fact, I sold my first piece of furniture on there back in September and let me tell you, what a rollercoaster that was.
Luckily, someone had tried to scam my boyfriend back in August when he went to sell our dining room table so I knew what to look out for when it came time for me to start selling some things.
What happens is the scammers will message you the typical first message you get "is this item still available?" Once you reply, they then will ask for your phone number.
Now this is already suspicious to me because you are already messaging perfectly fine over Facebook Messenger.
Apparently, they need your phone number to create a Google account in your name, from there, they will ask to send you a "verification code" to the phone number they gave. Then, in a few easy steps they have a Google account in your name they can do what they please with.
How to Avoid Facebook Marketplace Scams
If you are like me and are maybe a bit naïve, wanting to believe the best in people and also just really trying to sell your items, those first few messages you get are encouraging and give you hope that your item will be sold soon after listing it!
However, more often than not, those first few messages are likely the scams, or at least bots trying to pull something.
For example, just this morning I listed something else, the first message was clearly a fake profile, the second message, though, was a bit more convincing. However, after some sleuthing, the profile was fake and their first question was asking for my phone number...and that's the only red flag you need.
If you are also like me, though, and there's a part of you that still doesn't want to be mean to someone, I simply message them back saying "I've heard too many stories about scams involving giving out your phone number and messaging on here works just fine, thanks." Usually they go away.
The Other Issue - They're Interested But Stop Replying
Last time I tried to sell something I had multiple people messaging me, either extremely interested or needing to figure out transportation, but there would be days in between their replies. Meanwhile, more interested parties would continue messaging.
That's when I made a list of the order in which people replied and would cross them off as they either told me they weren't able to make it work or it was apparent they weren't going to follow through with the purchase.
It helped out a lot and made me feel very "official" about it all. However, I'm the type of person who wants to be fair, even if the people on the other side of the messages don't know what goes on on my end.
Navigating the Chaos
All in all, anything involved with trying to sell things on the internet can be messy and run its own kinds of risks.
Just know the signs of scammers, be aware of any red flags, stay organized and on top of things and PLEASE remember, safety first. Even if the interaction seems it will be quick and harmless, always make sure someone knows where you are going or bring another person with you.
As we all know, scammers will scam and bad people are everywhere...even when you're doing something as innocent as trying to get an old desk out of your garage.