DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is warning Facebook Marketplace users to be aware of an overpayment scam when buying or selling items.
The scammer finds a reason to overpay the seller then asks for a quick refund for the excess amount, but the seller never receives any money at all.
“We’ve seen Facebook Marketplace as a platform to sell illegal goods, to sell counterfeit goods and to have scam artists who are not trustworthy,” Weiser told FOX31. “There are legitimate people, neighbors, community members who might be on Facebook Marketplace, but there are also scam artists, criminals and people who are engaging in potentially dangerous conduct. So please be careful, do your homework and hold onto your wallet.”
Sara DeSantis told the Problem Solvers she used Facebook Marketplace to try to sell a bedroom set. A scammer posing as a customer bought the items but later said that for the transaction to go through, DeSantis had to have a money transfer business account, which requires a $2,000 dollar minimum payment.
The scammer would overpay her to upgrade. And here’s the hook: All DeSantis had to do is simply refund the scammer the extra $500 right away. DeSantis did not fall for the scam, because she saw the red flags.
“You could tell they just Photoshopped my name. I was like, ‘OK, this is definitely a scam,’” she said. DeSantis also said the link to the payment app actually went to a Gmail account.
Overpayment scams among most common in Colorado
The Better Business Bureau issued an alert about overpayment scams in June. Spokesperson Keylen Villagrana described it to FOX31 as “an overpayment scam and a phishing scam all rolled into one.”
The BBB Scam Tracker shows the overpayment scam is still one of the most common in Colorado.
“You fall for the scam, you send that money to them in order to get the money for what you’re selling, and regardless, you’re out of that money. That’s what they want,” Villagrana said.
Villagrana said to protect yourself by only accepting transactions for the dollar amount agreed upon and to check payment apps for a verified link. You can also do a reverse search on profile photos to spot red flags. Facebook also provides safety tips for users and monitors its site for suspicious activity.
Scams should be reported to the Colorado Attorney General’s office.
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