Nev Schulman warns of phishing trends infiltrating Facebook Marketplace

If you think you’re wise to scam online, think again. It seems that we are actually less educated about the dangers of being scammed than we think, with online marketplace scams being more common than ever.

Last year, FTC revealed that consumers lost $770 million to social media in 2021, a jump from the $42 million figure reported in 2017. It’s no surprise that platforms The market is full of opportunists looking for easy cash.

Overall usage has increased rapidly in recent years as mobile apps like Facebook Market, Vinted, Depop and eBay made access easier than ever; an estimate 2.91 billion people monthly use of Facebook Marketplace.

“We are all still beginners,” said Nev Schulman, the face of MTV’s Catfish, who recently partnered with the mobile banking app. Zelle to help educate people better on how to identify and avoid scams.

“Scammers target marketplace sellers because the average internet seller or seller probably hasn’t done it many times.

“Facebook Marketplace is probably one of the biggest [for scams] just because Facebook has the most users”.

Schulman’s previous experience and expertise in catching fake profiles in the online dating world through MTV’s Catfish can’t help you spot the signs of a bad guy trying to trick you into cashing out.

“If you don’t know some simple signs to spot, you can easily become a victim,” Schulman said, pointing out that two of the biggest signs of fraud are text messages. Intentional irregularities from a platform (Facebook, eBay, etc.) that require clicking on a link confirm the information and eagerness of the buyer to purchase your item as soon as possible.

In particular, on Facebook Marketplace, Schulman warns of a common scenario to watch out for: Scammers will pose as buyers, reply to your posts, and immediately agree without negotiation, without asking about price or item.

They will then offer to pay you through a money transfer app, but claim this fails because you need to update your account.

The scammer will send you a link asking you to pay a small fee, claiming it is asking for money transfer or similar wording, followed by a fake email from the company asking you to confirm.

Should companies be held accountable?

Schulman reiterated that if you don’t know what to look for, you’re in danger. He says people, organizations and platforms aren’t doing enough to warn people about how to protect themselves.

Schulman has called on platforms like Depop, Vinted and Facebook Marketplace to take responsibility for educating their users or providing more ways to find out if you can trust user profiles.

He praises eBay’s rating system and accessible information, such as the number of years users have been active, but that is only useful to buyers.

“Just like every time you fly, you have to listen to safety announcements. I think there should be some message,” he said. “I think all markets really should run better educational reminders.”

Luck Contacted Facebook for comment.

Key tips to avoid scams:

  • Only send money to people you know and trust.
  • No bank will call or email you with your information – so don’t give it away.
  • Know who you are buying from. Only deal with people you trust and reputable places to buy and sell.
  • Don’t let anyone rush to pay you. Urgency is a clear and consistent phishing strategy.
  • Report any suspicious activity so your bank can prevent these scammers from hurting you and others again.

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