CONSUMER FIRST ALERT: Scammers targeting sellers on Facebook Marketplace

Scammers target big-ticket items and use peer-to-peer payment apps
Updated: Jul. 1, 2022 at 4:00 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - There’s a new scam targeting sellers on Facebook Marketplace.

In a Consumer First Alert, the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin has tips to help you spot a scam on the marketplace on peer-to-peer payment apps.

The BBB says people selling big ticket items are targets.

“It’s a twist on what we call the overpayment scam,” says Susan Bach, Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin. “The consumer posts their item online. They’re contacted by the scammer and offers to pay by one of those peer-to-peer payment apps. Then the seller is going to get an email that says we have paid for the item, and some screenshots from the scammer that you need to upgrade your Zelle account to a business account because it’s such a large ticket item, and that you need to upgrade your account to a business account and it’ll cost $300, and that the scammer is going to cover the cost for you as long as you promise to pay them back.”

A victim reported this experience: “I received an email from explaining that the funds were waiting, but the buyer had to send an additional $300 in order to upgrade my account because the transaction was over $600, and I would need a business account.”

The scammer sent screenshots of his Zelle app appearing to show the money deducted from his account. Then the scammer starts a pressure campaign.

“He was very upset and persistent that I needed to pay him back for the fees that he incurred on my behalf,” one victim reported.

The Better Business Bureau says that money will be lost.

“Report it definitely to Facebook Marketplace, report the account that was used,” says Bach. “See if Zelle or any of those payment apps can help you and contact your local police department and report it to the BBB Scam Tracker website.”

The Better Business Bureau says do not trust anyone willing to overpay you.

Check the email address. Scammers can easily impersonate a company using their logo.

Know the payment app policies. Scammers often make up fake policies to trick victims.

The BBB says no one has reported losing money to these scam attempts.

The BBB has victim reports referencing Zelle, but they say the scam could work with Cash App, Venmo or other peer-to-peer payments.

Let your family and friends know about fake Facebook buyers to help stop the scam.

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