Musings about Japan and life as a human, a cosplayer, a minority, a music lover, an English teacher.

Beware of Facebook Marketplace Dangers

As some of you have read previously, I was hesitant to post some of my belongings online to sell. Well, I finally did post them, on both eBay Classifieds and Craigslist. I haven’t gotten many responses so far but it’s only been a few days.

Today I finally decided to post my old MacBook for sale on Facebook Marketplace. I figured it couldn’t hurt, and that I would be more likely to find a buyer in the area. But it turns out that I have to be even more careful.

Within hours of posting, I received two responses about my computer. Or should I say, my “item.” Here was the first response:

“hello seller i will like to buy your item. Am a worker in Mobil company(HQ) Nigeria and Nigeria is a very poor place to be working in i will like to buy you item and you will ship it to me through bank transfer”

Not hating on Nigeria or anything, but as soon as I read that and the words “bank transfer,” I knew it was a scam. Not to mention that the person who sent the message has a picture of a man, but has “Female” listed as the person’s sex and only has five “friends” (I assume they’re random adds).

About an hour later, someone else sent a message, which sounded only a tiny bit more convincing:

“Hello My Name is Mr Johnson i saw the advert of your item and am interested in buying your item for my daughter who is currently studying in West/Africa (Lagos/Nigeria)as a Birthday gift,if you can mail to explain the actual condition presently i will be very glad,and also get back to me with the total amount including the shipping,via Express Air mail(3-5Days)Delivery handling payment will me made through via Pay pal so also get back with your pay pal email account for fast payment as soon as possible

This person has only TWO friends, spelled his own name in his e-mail address wrong, and has very little information listed in his “Recent Activity” on his wall (including the two friends he added), indicating that either his profile is not very active or that he just created it. On top of that, who buys a BROKEN computer for their precious daughter as a birthday gift?

Neither person used my name, nor did they refer to my computer as anything other than an “item.” As a result, I had to add more information to my listing, which scammers probably won’t read anyway. I wrote that I will only sell to local buyers that I can meet in person and will only accept cash. Scammers might ignore it, but legitimate buyers will read it and be careful to distinguish their posts from fraudulent ones.

For those of you who are thinking about using the Marketplace, eBay Classifieds, Craigslist, etc. for the first time, just remember a few important things:

1. It’s recommended that you only sell to local buyers who are willing to meet with you personally. Shipping an expensive item to someone you don’t know is very risky.
2. If the buyer is someone you don’t know, only accept cash. Checks can bounce, and many websites warn about people who ask to pay through Western Union and such. If you absolutely have to keep payment options open, sell your item on eBay.
3. Make sure the person contacting you is using specific names, such as addressing you by name in a greeting and referring to the item you are selling by name.
4. On Marketplace, check the profiles of prospective buyers. If the person has very few friends or a suspicious profile picture, chances are they’re a scammer.

I know this is obvious to some of you, but this is something that others who aren’t familiar with these scams need to know. If you’re convinced that someone is trying to scam you, just don’t reply to their message, and/or report them.

And while I’m on the topic of selling, here are the posts I managed to make on eBay Classifieds:

My Old MacBook

Magic: The Gathering Cards

Naruto Wall Scroll


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