WASHINGTON -- Without the right precautions, trying to sell your stuff on Facebook Marketplace could wind up costing you money, and even turn dangerous, according to experts.
A Washington, D.C. woman, said cleaning out her closet quickly turned into sophisticated online fraud, and a big chunk of change gone.
Sam Silverman posted pants for sale on Facebook Marketplace, and said a buyer agreed to the price. Then, what looked like official correspondence from the payment app Zelle arrived in her inbox.
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"I figured I'd list them on Facebook marketplace, something I've done numerous times," Silverman said. "I was getting very legitimate looking emails."
The email said she needed to establish a Zelle business account and make a $300 initial transfer to the buyer, who would then credit her back the difference. Silverman said the stranger never sent back the money.
"Had I taken a deep breath, and you know, waited 15 minutes, maybe I still would have $300," she said.
"We've had reports on our scam tracker of items not being what they're supposed to be," said Melanie McGovern, a Better Business Bureau spokesperson. "In some cases, people sometimes don't feel safe selling and buying in such a public forum."
And, they warn the crimes can escalate to violence.
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In Brooklyn, New York, an off-duty policeman was shot when he met up with an alleged assailant over the weekend, reportedly to buy a car he arranged through Facebook Marketplace. Authorities arrested the suspect overnight. Charges are yet to be announced.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, another alleged Facebook Marketplace meet-up over a car resulted in the buyer being shot last October. The suspect was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and possession of stolen vehicle.