Tony Bing’s attempt to sell his car quickly turned strange, after he began receiving messages from a site he’d never placed an ad.
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When Tony saw a surge of interest in his listing, he discovered something untoward on Facebook Market.
Source: Seven Sharp
He had put his BMW on Trade Me for $15,000. Initially, there wasn’t too much interest.
Then suddenly the messages started flooding in.
“[There were] people wanting to come and look at the car. Did I still have it? ‘I’ll be round in half an hour to see it’,” Bing told Seven Sharp.
“Everyone’s really keen to look at this car all of a sudden. And then someone said, ‘Is the price still reduced to $6000?’.”
Investigating, Bing discovered something untoward on Facebook Market.
His Trade Me ad had been duplicated and added to Facebook – with the price reduced by around $10,000.
“It’s definitely a scam. They don’t have the car to sell. It’s obviously right here,” Bing says.
Fair Go reporter Garth Bray says it’s a common type of scam known as a “man in the middle” scam, where someone uses another person’s photos to rip people off.
“It could be a big ticket item like a BMW this week, next week it could be a shar pei or a holiday home in Wānaka,” he says.
“But that’s the classic scam is to try and intercept that cash and pretend to be somebody else.”
When it comes to protecting yourself, Bray’s advice is to take a close look at the ads they’re seeing.
“It’s the wild west, it’s very unregulated… really I’d try and steer clear from those platforms where no one is really going to jump in and save you if it all goes wrong.”
Facebook says it’s still investigating the issue and is working to validate the authenticity of the user’s account.
It says the site has a dedicated set of trained reviewers focused on taking down scams and its technology helps block millions of attempts to create fake accounts every day.