Selling my Apple Watch: A New Avenue to Scam Sellers on Facebook Marketplace
Recently I’ve been trying to sell some electronics on Facebook Marketplace. In Colorado, it’s a very popular way of selling used items whether it’s camping gear, furniture, or electronics. Oftentimes when you hear about the dangers of selling online; situations where you’re buying an item and the seller runs off with your money. The newest wave of Facebook Marketplace scams, however, attempt to do the opposite–the buyers are focused on convincing the seller that they’ve already paid for the expensive item you’re selling.
Within three weeks of listing my Apple Watch I have already been targeted by these scammers on four separate occasions. They all follow a well-rehearsed script: first, they ask if an item can be shipped. Then, instead of haggling they offer to send the money via PayPal or CashApp immediately–sometimes offering more than the list price. Finally, they ask for your email instead of your username in order to complete the payment.
The “buyer” (read: scammer) asks for your email instead of your username so that they can send you a fake PayPal or CashApp confirmation email. These emails often state that the funds have already been transferred, but are pending until the package is shipped. Then the communications return to Facebook Messenger where the buyer will push you to ship the package immediately and provide a tracking number.
In my research, I found that the majority of these scams ask the seller to send the package to the following address: 2229 NW 79th Ave Doral, FL 33122-1632
The address is linked to Shop2Ship, a ‘company’ that provides individuals outside the US with a P.O. box that they can ship items to and have them redirected to another country, untraced. Shop2Ship has an abhorrent rating from the Better Business Bureau as numerous complaints describe scams similar to what I’ve outlined. The complaints list out a vast plethora of items people have been scammed out of, including Macbooks, iPhones, engagement rings, and Apple watches.
The first mention I found of this scam occurred on February 2nd, 2019 on the “Scam Watchdog Australia” public Facebook group. While this may have begun in 2019, it is being used heavily against users this year exploiting those who are in a worse financial position trying to make extra cash.
The first two Facebook profiles that reached out to me were pretty barren with only a handful of friends and one profile picture. I didn’t expect the sale to go anywhere and was immediately weary. However, after those attempts failed the latest “buyer” seemed to have compromised a real Facebook account. The profile had an extensive history complete with dozens of photos and a large following of 297 people. They followed the same pattern though step by step.
As soon as they asked for my email and refused to use my Paypal link, I knew something was up. I provided an email address and then received a You got money email delivered to my Spam folder from paypal[.]services113@gmail[.]com.
The “buyer” then gave me a mailing address that was the exact same as one another scammer had provided. Going back to the previous conversation, the first “buyer” has now been moderated by Facebook.
At the end of this blog post I’ve also included screenshots of the ‘PayPal Payment Confirmation’ email that the buyer sent me, which was promptly flagged as Spam by Gmail. If you’ve gotten a fake Paypal Payment email as well, you can forward to email@example.com for their Trust & Safety Team to review.
TL;DR here are the signs I’ve noticed of a Facebook Marketplace Buyer trying to scam you.
- doesn’t ask many questions.
- tries to buy items that are set for “Local Pickup.”
- asks for the item to be shipped.
- wants to send money via Paypal or CashApp but requires an email instead of a username.
- becomes aggressive or irritated when you ask additional questions.
- has a shipping address in Doral or Miami, Florida.
Moral of the Story: Selling expensive goods on Facebook Marketplace will result in you being bombarded with scam buyers and is probably not worth it. Take it from the complaints at the Better Business Bureau: Do not ship to this address ever!