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Consumer Reports: Online marketplace safety

Consumer Reports: Online marketplace safety
2 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, April 03 2024 Apr 3, 2024 April 03, 2024 10:19 PM April 03, 2024 in News - Consumer News

It’s that time of year when yard sales and flea markets spring up, or at least they used to. Nowadays, much of that second-hand selling has moved online year-round to sites such as Facebook Marketplace. Sure, they can be convenient places to find great deals, but as Consumer Reports explains, there are some safety steps you need to take before you meet up to finalize an online sale.

People buy all kinds of stuff from their neighbors on Facebook. But along with getting a good deal using social media, you can also get scammed.

Consumers have lost more than 2.7 billion dollars to Social Media scams since 2021. Some scammers lurking on Facebook Marketplace aren't after your money. They want your data. 

Tip number one: Never share personal information like your address, email, or phone number. Only communicate through Facebook Messenger.

Tip number two: Think about where the sale will take place. Meet in a public, well-lit area; never give away your home address. Consider a police station. Some even have designated parking spots where security cameras watch marketplace meet-ups.

Tip number three: Never exchange cash. Facebook Marketplace recommends a secure person-to-person payment method. But even with those, Consumer Reports says you should still take care to prevent payment mistakes.

You always want to ensure you’re sending money to the right person before you send the full amount. So here’s a tip: send a one-dollar test payment first, then make sure that person received it.

For large purchases like a car, pay the old-fashioned way with a cashier’s check—a peace of mind to secure your purchase and safety.

Another warning about secondhand sales is that Consumer Reports says do not buy a used infant or child car seat. You won’t know if the seat has been involved in a crash. And if the labels and instructions aren’t available, you can’t quickly check for recalls or the seat’s expiration date.

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