CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Facebook Marketplace is quickly becoming a popular way to buy things online, but Harrison County law enforcement agencies are encouraging users to stay safe after recent scams.
These scams have not only affected people purchasing items through Marketplace, but selling them as well.
“If you were selling something for $100, and someone wanted to give you $300 in the form of a check is around about what happened. And they would say ‘take an extra $50 for you, and then cash the check and give me $150 back,’ and that’s what happened. And, of course, the check wasn’t real, or it was bad, and the seller ends up on the hook for the money,” said Chief Deputy Scott Lattea with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities said buyers should always see an item before deciding to buy it, and they should think carefully before making any online purchases.
“I would caution everybody, if you’re buying something, to make sure you get eyes on it. Never give somebody money for something if you’ve never seen it in person, and things like that. And, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is,” said Lattea.
While there have been recent instances of fraud using Facebook Marketplace, police said people should not be discouraged from using the feature, as long as they are cautious throughout the process.
“I’m sure for every one of these that’s happened, there’s an awful lot of successful transactions there. I just advise people to be very careful when they’re doing it. I would probably meet somewhere in a public place or something, depends on what you’re selling, but I wouldn’t necessarily invite people into your house to see what else might be there,” said Lattea.
Local police said they are doing everything they can to investigate potential online buying scams in the area.