Third of Facebook Marketplace ads could be scams

Anyone buying goods on social media platforms is being warned to be vigilant so they do not fall for a scam as a third of Facebook Marketplace adverts could be frauds

An estimated £60m is lost each year through scams on the platform, equivalent to £160,000 being lost every day. As well as this, 73% of all purchase fraud cases are taking place on Facebook Marketplace, found research carried out by TSB.

TSB’s fraud team found that 34% of advertisements it investigated from a sample of 100 adverts on their feed, were fake. They contacted the sellers of items such as cars, games consoles, watches, air fryers and handbags to see if they were genuine adverts, or fraudulent.

Any adverts deemed a scam were labelled as such by TSB as the seller refused to show the item in person and demanded the money upfront. Additionally, items were advertised as ‘brand new’ for significantly lower than the real retail price.

For example, an Apple iPhone 13 was listed as new for just £84, the phone sells via Apple’s website at £599. The seller was contacted but the TSB fraud expert was sent to a scam website.

Out of the many items found to be used in the scam adverts 21% of them were for vehicles or vehicle parts, three times higher than the next highest amount. Phones, shoes and clothing, and games console and accessories all counted for 7%. 

There were also concert and festival tickets, electronics, furniture, household electronics, services and building materials and tools included in the list of scam adverts.

Matt Hepburn, fraud spokesperson, TSB, said:You wouldn’t shop at a supermarket if a third of the items might be stale or counterfeit – so the same should apply to Facebook Marketplace, where you could have a one in three chance of being scammed when paying online.

‘Social media companies really must act on their commitments under the government’s Online Fraud Charter by urgently clearing up their platforms – removing scam adverts is a good first test.’

TSB said it was critical for all social media companies that have signed up to the government’s Online Fraud Charter to follow the rules. The deadline to sign up is 31 May 2013. So far, many of the largest tech firms have signed up the charter, including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Microsoft, TikTok, X/Twitter and YouTube.

The charter includes a list of measures that each signatory has agreed to adhere to within the time limit. The steps include blocking, reporting, takedowns, advertising, law enforcement, intelligence sharing, transparency, comms and horizon scanning.

Online Fraud Charter 2023


Will Drysdale |Reporter, Accountancy Daily

Will Drysdale is a reporter at Accountancy Daily - email news and leads to william.drys...

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