Facebook Marketplace provides a convenient and accessible platform for buying and selling goods. However, it’s crucial to be aware of potential scams that can undermine your security and financial well-being. The Better Business Bureau has issued an important scam alert related to Zelle®. Scammers are exploiting unsuspecting sellers on Facebook marketplace by attempting to purchase high-value items through fraudulent means.
Scammers specifically target sellers on Facebook Marketplace who have listed expensive items. The process begins when a buyer contacts the seller, expressing interest in purchasing the item and proposing payment via Zelle®. If the seller agrees, the buyer requests the seller’s email address to initiate the payment process. However, the buyer does not actually send any payment.
Instead, the buyer sends a counterfeit email to the seller, impersonating an official Zelle® communication. The email falsely claims that the buyer has made the payment using a Zelle® business account. To receive payment, the seller is instructed to upgrade to a Zelle® business account, which incurs a fee of a few hundred dollars. To make the situation seem more legitimate, the buyer contacts the seller directly stating that they received the same email from Zelle® and have already sent enough money to cover both the purchase and the upgrade fee, but then asks the seller for reimbursement of the upgrade. To persuade the seller, the scammer provides fabricated screenshots and documentation as evidence of payment. This ruse aims to convince the seller to refund the money without undertaking the crucial step of verifying the actual receipt of payment in their account.
It’s important to remain aware that scammers adapt and implement similar techniques on other payment apps like Venmo and Cash App.
Steps to Protect Yourself
- Remain vigilant for red flags
- Spelling and grammar mistakes
- Immediate interest and offers to pay in full
- Urging you for your personal information, such as your phone number or email
- Zelle® emails that are sent without the @Zellepay.com domain
- Authenticate emails and payments
- Contact Zelle® directly to verify legitimacy of any account upgrade request
- Reputable organizations will never ask you to pay a fee to receive payment
- Refrain from issuing refunds without confirming that the payment has been successfully processed and posted to your account
By maintaining a proactive approach, you can mitigate the risks associated with Zelle® scams on Facebook marketplace. Stay informed, use caution, and trust your instincts.
When used appropriately, Zelle® provides a safe and secure platform for sending and receiving money to friends, family, and other trusted individuals. Zelle® provides authentication and monitoring features to help make your payments secure but pay it safe.
At Michigan First, our top priority is protecting you and your money. We make substantial investments in resources to maintain the confidentiality and security of your personal information.
Use the above information to help keep yourself protected against fraud but know that fraud schemes are surfacing every day. Stay up to date and informed by visiting MichiganFirst.com/Fraud and monitoring trends on the Federal Trade Commission website.