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Scam Alert: Rising Tide Of Buy-And-Sell Facebook Scams

The Better Business Bureau is urging Facebook users not to share certain types of attention-grabbing posts that later turn into scams.

How They Work

Many Facebook users are falling victim to these scams because they appear to be heart-wrenching stories about missing children or injured pets. The post urges readers to share with their friends to help spread the word.

As soon as you share the post, the scam artist behind it changes the content to some sort of fake ad or directs readers to a link for a survey with a claim that completing it will lead to a cash payout. Your friends, thinking you recommended this content, may click on it and fall victim to a scheme. The goal in most of these cases is to con people into paying a deposit for something they’ll never receive or filling out a form to gather their personal information.


Multiple variations of these schemes have been seen across the U.S. and Canada on Facebook buy and sell groups. Scammers tend to choose buy-and-sell groups for these schemes because they build a community of people with a shared interest who trust one another. In most cases, they also turn off commenting on their posts so those that do discover it is a scheme can’t easily warn others by posting in the comment section.


How Can You Avoid Them?

The Better Business Bureau offers a few simple tips to avoid becoming a victim of these scams.

  • Review The Person’s Profile For Red Flags Before you share a post, be sure to read it thoroughly and take a look at the person’s Facebook profile information. If they reside in a completely different state or country than the one they’re sharing information for, it may be a sign that they’re attempting to bait and switch you. In addition, scammers typically create new profiles as soon as their old one is blocked. Viewing their profile should tell you how long they’ve been part of the group. If they haven’t been a member for very long, this should be a red flag.
  • Do Some Research on Their Story If the tragic story they’re sharing is actually true, there should be local news reports about it. If you’re not finding any information about it from local news outlets or law enforcement agencies, they may be attempting to bait and switch the reader.
  • Find Out I The Photos They’re Using Were Stolen You can do a reverse image search on Google to determine whether the photos in the post were previously used in other ads or websites.
  • Look For Similar Posts Copy the text from the post and paste it into Facebook’s search bar to see if any other posts pop up with the same story.
  • Report Suspicious Content If you find something on Facebook that seems like a scam, be sure to report it.

Scam artists are constantly finding new ways to target people. If you’re noticing suspicious content on Facebook, make sure to take action by reporting it and warning others.


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