Tips to stay safe when buying or selling through Facebook Marketplace

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Monday, February 6, 2023
Tips to stay safe when buying, selling through Facebook
7 On Your Side has tips to help you stay safe when buying and selling through Facebook Marketplace. Nina Pineda has the story.

YONKERS, New York (WABC) -- An off-duty NYPD officer critically wounded during an attempted robbery in Brooklyn over the weekend is calling attention to the safety of buying or selling on Facebook Marketplace.

7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda highlights some harrowing stories and provides tips on how to keep you safe when buying or selling on the largest online marketplace.

"I believe something bad could've happened to me on that day, anything is possible now that this situation happened with this this police officer and it's devastating, you start thinking wow that could have been me," Facebook Marketplace customer Lisa said.

She bought a car with a fake title from someone advertising on Facebook Marketplace after a flurry of exchanges online. She met up with the seller to exchange cash and keys, but the big shock came afterwards.

"The car was reported stolen a week after we had it in possession," she said.

Right after the transaction, the seller's profile disappeared and the NYPD told Lisa not to drive the car until they could investigate further.

"I'm scared. I'm worried, I have the car still in possession and every day you don't know what's going to happen," she said.

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But she's not alone. Ring camera video captured the frightening moment when police informed a Facebook Marketplace buyer that the car she had just purchased was stolen.

"I was stunned, and super scared," the buyer said.

She was so scared that the young teacher didn't want 7 On Your Side to show her face. The guy she met with to buy a used BMW is still out there.

When she heard about the police officer who was shot while meeting a car seller via Facebook, she could not sleep Sunday night.

"That could've been me," she said.

Police confiscated the car and now she's out $10,000 in cash after meeting the seller in a grocery store parking lot.

Here are some safety tips if you're buying or selling anything through Facebook Marketplace:

  • Meet in a public well-lit area.
  • Never go to a meeting alone.
  • Share the meeting plan with friends or relatives before you go.
  • Never meet at your home.
  • Find a safe exchange point to buy and sell
  • A good idea is to meet at the local police station. Some stations like in Darien, Connecticut even have designated parking spots for "Internet Purchase Exchanges," where officers can surveil transactions by video.

    Both car buyers paid the seller in cash. Facebook Marketplace says to use a secure person-to-person payment method like PayPal.

    Also, run a CarFax report. The BMW was reported stolen a month ago.

    Lisa ran a DMV report and found that the car was reported stolen after she bought it, so she's out of luck.

    "I'm out $8,000, I put a GoFundMe account up hoping to recover, with the help of the public, some of my funds, I'm working and can't seem to make ends meet," she said.



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