Every sixth user has already been scammed on Facebook’s marketplace

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They said the platform, which enables peer-to-peer trading, is free and easy to use, and users feel safe as they can also view sellers’ profiles. However, this sense of security is often false, as like any other online marketplace, it attracts plenty of fraudsters.

The announcement quotes István Csizmazia-Darab, Sicontact’s IT security expert, who said: “more and more users are turning to online platforms in order to get money quickly as a seller or to buy products at a lower price as a buyer. At the same time, however, the number of fraudsters is also increasing and on online marketplaces, so security awareness and caution remain paramount”.

He added that, similarly to phishing, it is also important to recognize warning signs early, for example the suspiciously low price, the non-Hungarian language and the urging, because it can protect users from being scammed. According to the analysis, since false advertisements also affect home sales and car purchases, quite large amounts are often involved.

In their analysis, ESET’s cyber security experts presented several frauds that occur more frequently in marketplaces: the sale of defective products, especially in the case of electronic goods; distribution of counterfeits; fraudulently obtaining authentication codes; and deceiving sellers, for example, when a fraudulent buyer claims to have paid more for the product than the listed price and posts a screenshot of the alleged transaction as “proof”, demanding a refund of the difference.

It is also common that the product paid for is not delivered; and advertising fake sweepstakes, where an unsuspecting user clicks on a link where they provide personal information in the belief that they can win free luxury items, cryptocurrency, or some other special gift.

Criminals also commit insurance fraud, for example by agreeing to pay the shipping cost, as proof of which they send a fake invoice, while also asking the seller for an insurance fee: since the amount is relatively small compared to the value of the item for sale, sellers often go for such alleged to pay the fee. With the so-called feeding method, fraudsters often advertise a high-quality product at a very favorable price, but when the customer wants to buy the discounted product, it disappears from the system, and the fraudsters either offer a similar product at a higher price or an inferior product for the same price.

According to ESET experts, there are several ways to prevent fraud, one of which, for example, is to check the goods before purchasing and only buy products from local sellers. It is worth checking the profiles of sellers and buyers, user reviews, and be suspicious if the profiles were created only recently or if there are suspiciously many positive reviews in a too short period of time.

According to another piece of advice, prevention is also helped if the user looks at the original price of the products and should be suspicious if they are offered at a significantly lower price, because the item may be counterfeit, stolen or defective. It is also important to choose safe payment methods, as they allow for refunds.

According to the experts, the package should only be sent before the payment of the consideration if the package is picked up by a money-handling parcel machine, because this guarantees that the customer can only receive the product after payment. They also warn that users should never send the two-step identification codes to alleged prospective customers, strangers, or strangers, because these codes are only for their own safety and should not be shared with others, the announcement states.

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Cover image source: Getty Images

Source: Portfolio.hu – Üzlet by www.portfolio.hu.

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