Computing

Why I Stopped Selling Tech on Facebook Marketplace

I recently relocated to a new house and decided to declutter by selling some of my old tech that had been gathering dust in my previous apartment. Among the items were a 2015 MacBook Pro and a gaming PC I built the following year. Facebook Marketplace seemed like the logical platform to sell these items. Little did I know, it would turn out to be a terrible decision.

A Marketplace Filled with Scammers

If you’ve ever tried selling tech on Facebook Marketplace, you may have had a similar dreadful experience. The platform is plagued with obvious scam messages and relentless individuals pushing for hasty transactions without proper checks. It’s disheartening to say, but finding genuine buyers on Facebook Marketplace can feel like a futile endeavor. The absence of moderation or control further exacerbates the situation.

Lenovo Legion Tower 7i gaming PC sitting on a table.
Image: Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Speaking to friends and family who are frequent users of Facebook Marketplace, it appears that the prevalence of scams is more prominent in the tech category compared to other items. While selling items such as yarn or baby clothes may be relatively safe, attempting to sell high-value gadgets opens the door to a world of pain.

Scams Galore

In my case, I listed a gaming PC that was built in 2016. It still performed admirably, boasting an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU, an EVGA GTX 1080 graphics card, 4.5TB of storage, and 16GB of memory. Despite pricing it competitively at 285 pounds (approximately $360) – undercutting the cheapest equivalent listing by 15 pounds ($20) – I was bombarded with suspicious messages, each trying to swindle me into giving away my PC for nothing in return.

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A message from a suspected scammer on Facebook Marketplace.
Image: Alex Blake / Digital Trends

The messages followed an identical pattern, indicating a network of similar accounts operated by scammers. These accounts exhibited common traits like Eastern European names and a few photos. It became apparent that the scammers aimed to steal account information, impersonate victims, and deceive sellers with their generic messages.

Fortunately, I could easily identify these fraudulent attempts once I recognized their modus operandi. However, the continuous influx of such messages indicated how effortlessly fraudsters thrived on Facebook Marketplace. While I was able to navigate through the scams with caution, I’m certain many others fell victim to these schemes.

MacBook Misery

My troubles didn’t end with selling the gaming PC. In fact, shortly after listing my MacBook Pro, I received my first message – a scam message. The profile belonged to someone named Peter, and despite their initial appearance as a regular person, it became evident that they were part of the scamming network.

A MacBook Pro running macOS Monterey on a bed.
Image: Alex Blake / Digital Trends

After agreeing to sell the laptop, Peter informed me that they had sent the payment. However, upon checking my email, I discovered an alarming message. Purportedly from PayPal but originating from a Gmail account, it claimed that Peter had sent the required payment. However, it stated that there was an issue crediting my account due to it not being a business account. The email requested an additional payment of £300.00 GBP to supposedly resolve the problem.

Clearly, all of this was a blatant lie. Recognizing their deceptive tactics, I promptly blocked and reported Peter.

Stay Away from Facebook Marketplace

In an incredible stroke of luck, I managed to find genuine buyers for my tech. One was a college student in need of a laptop, while the other buyer happened to be my own mom.

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Yes, my mom is now the proud owner of an impressively capable gaming rig, far beyond her requirements. But if it meant avoiding scams and ensuring a successful sale, I was more than happy for her to have it.

After this unfortunate ordeal, I’ve learned my lesson: I will never again sell tech on Facebook Marketplace. The risks far outweigh the benefits, with fraudsters and time-wasters dominating the platform. Ultimately, my most successful sales came from selling directly to people I know, bypassing Facebook Marketplace entirely. If you’re looking to sell your tech, I recommend pursuing similar avenues.

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