Here are some tips to keep you safe when buying things through places like Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is . . . NEVER pay with wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or gift cards . . . and if they refuse to meet up with you in person, take a pass on that item.
1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. And that holds true whether you’re buying OR selling something. If someone offers you a lot more money than what you’re asking for an item, you should be suspicious.
2. The payment method seems suspect. If the seller insists on payment methods like wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or prepaid gift cards, it’s a huge red flag. Using Venmo isn’t necessarily a sign of a scam, but if they require a payment before you can see or pick up the item, that’s obviously bad.
In general, the safest thing to do is to pay for your item in cash when you pick it up in person.
3. Their communication feels off. Poor communication can sometimes be a giveaway you’re talking to a scammer. Or if they want to take the conversation off the app, and to a private text thread instead.
4. All the images are stock photos. It’s a bad sign if the seller’s photos all look like they were pulled from the internet. In that case, asking for additional photos or a video can help verify the listing’s authenticity. Also, a user who doesn’t have a PROFILE photo might be a bad sign.
5. They won’t meet in person. If possible, you should plan to meet in person in a safe public place to examine the item before paying for it. If they refuse to meet up with you, take a pass on that item.