Here are my top Facebook Marketplace Tips from an avid marketplace shopper! I have personally bought tons of stuff on the Marketplace: from designer bags & jewelry to clothes and even furniture. The Facebook Marketplace can be a great place to buy amazing items at garage sale prices locally.

But how do you know when you are being scammed? And how do you keep yourself safe when you meet the seller/buyer? I’ve compiled a list of things you can do to make absolutely sure that you keep yourself safe and don’t end up with a knock off bag by some horrible scam artist.

Facebook Marketplace Tips #1: Know Your Item

It should go without saying BUT: If you are buying something that would normally be super expensive, make sure you know everything about the item you are planning on buying. For example: if you are planning on buying a designer purse from someone, look it up online! Find the official listing on the designers website and study the stitching and the hardware. Do they match? If not you might be dealing with a knock-off item.

Some brands such as Louis Vuitton have authentication codes that you can check online. You even have the option of calling a store to verify authenticity. If a person is selling you the real deal there is no harm in them sending you a picture of the code. Don’t just accept them texting you the code either. Ask for an actual photograph of the code on the item!

Don’t stop at researching the pictures that are posted either, inspect the item in-person before you hand over your money. If the person acts cagey when you meet them at the exchange point and won’t let you inspect the item before giving them your money, leave. A real seller shouldn’t be offended if you are verifying that you are getting what you are paying for. If someone does act insulted simply say that you were scammed before and just want to be more careful this time.

Facebook Marketplace Tips #2: Check if you are Dealing with a Burner Account

Are you even dealing with someone’s real Facebook account? See if you can take their name from the marketplace and look them up on Facebook. How many friends do they have? How far back does their timeline go? Do they have a lot of ‘normal’ pictures in their gallery?

While it is true that some people can privatize a lot of information, these are a few things you can look for to try to verify that you are dealing with a real person and not a disposable Facebook account made by a scam artist. I’ve gone as far as to look sellers up on Linked In & Twitter before. Remember, you are planning on meeting this person who you do not know from Adam, in person, while holding cash in your hand. You can never be too careful.

Facebook Marketplace Tips #3: Haggle

More often than not, a reasonable & honest person will be willing to haggle with you a bit. Generally I ask if an item is not an even multiple of twenty ($60, $80, $100 etc.) if we can go down to the next $20 increment. (For example: If an item is listed as $70 I’ll ask if I can pay $60 instead.) I started doing this because it was easier for me to get the cash from an ATM because the one I normally use only spits out $20 bills.

Generally the person who you are speaking with will be fine with you going down in price a bit because if your reasoning makes sense. The only time someone wasn’t willing to do this for me was with a person who I was already a bit leery of. When I made the suggestion that they go down $5 they suddenly became extremely rude and began blowing up my messenger with insults until I both reported them to Facebook and blocked them. Bullet dodged!

Facebook Marketplace Tips #4: Arrange to Meet in a Crowded Public Place During the Day

Again, this should be a no-brainer, but you as the buyer should be able to determine where the trade takes place. Arrange to meet in an area you know well and where other people are usually present. You get extra points if you are able to arrange to meet at a place that has it’s own security guards and camera systems. Never forget: You have no idea who is on the other side of your screen.

SOME RECOMMENDED MEETING PLACES:

  • Inside a Mall (that has security guards)
  • At a School/University (preferably inside a common building like a library)
  • Near your local court house
  • In front of a large, high-traffic store (such as a Target or Wal*Mart)

NEVER AGREE TO MEET AT:

  • A parking lot for a store after-hours
  • A vacant lot (duh!)
  • Their house (unless you are picking up large furniture and have a friend with you!)
  • That abandoned & haunted farm off the highway
  • YOUR HOUSE!!!

Facebook Marketplace Tips #5: Leave your Money/Purse in the Car Until You Inspect the Item

Unless you are meeting inside of a building, leave your money and wallet inside of your locked car until you have had a thorough look at the item. Inspect every detail that you researched previously. Double check that the authentication codes match what you were sent earlier (if applicable). Most designer items come with a care card, see if the card is still with the item for extra verification.

If you are getting a suspicious feeling about the item or the seller, or feel as though you are being duped, say you are going to get the money from your car. When you get back to your car, get in and immediately leave. You are in a mall or at a storefront, say you are going to run to the ATM inside, then leave via a different door or locate a security guard if you are feeling threatened.

Leaving your money in your car offers you the opportunity to escape should you need to, and will keep you from being robbed if the person planned to grab your money and run. If they try to follow you back to your car, tell them to stay where they are, if they still try to follow you, give them one warning to stop and then feel free to yell & scream to get the attention of the people around you.

Closing Thoughts

Despite the tone of this post shopping on the Facebook Marketplace isn’t all doom and gloom. I’ve found some amazing items for sale and scored some amazing deals. But it is important to remember that at the end of the day when you are shopping on marketplaces such as Facebook or Craigslist that you really have no idea who is really on the other side of the screen. No matter how good a deal might seem, it isn’t worth your health or your cash if you are going to end up robbed, stabbed, or scammed.

So what are your thoughts? Have you purchased anything off of the FB marketplace or Craigslist? Did you have a good experience or a bad one? Comment below and let me know your story!