LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– Facebook Marketplace is a tool created for finding great deals near you. However, the Better Business Bureau advises consumers to watch out for warning signs before handing over their money.

Chris Babin with the BBB says scammers are posing as sellers of high dollar items on Facebook Marketplace. Because the items are more expensive, scammers may require a deposit up front claiming the item is in high demand. Once the deposit is sent, the scammer is gone.

A local woman told the BBB she was scammed while trying to purchase a washer and dryer. Babin says after the woman paid a deposit, the profile disappeared and blocked her. Other people have had similar experiences with this same seller.

Some scammers may also claim to be out of the country, selling the item for a friend, or otherwise unavailable so that they do not have to meet in person.

“Of course, we would tell you to look into the person that’s selling the product. Do they have a track record of posting things, has the profile been around a while, do they have friends and family members in the local area, and then are you going to pay a deposit up front for something you’re not sure it exists. That’s a decision you’ll need to make but if you do, be on the lookout for this type of scam,” says Babin.

Here are some tips on how to avoid scams on Facebook Marketplace:

  • Check the seller’s Facebook profile. Scammers may set up fake accounts. Some tell-tale signs include: stock images, lack of transparency, no written content or content that has misspellings or grammatical errors.
  • Always meet the seller and see the item for sale before purchasing.
  • Don’t send money for deposits without confirming the ownership of the item in person or over video chat.
  • Reverse image search the items for sale. Scammers may steal photos from other listings or websites.

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.