6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, online marketplace safety

online marketplace safety

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(ABC 6 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. Online shopper Michelle Concha says, “I actually bought a car on marketplace!”

While buying a car from a stranger might not typically be recommended, Concha had done her homework. “Because we had people in common in the area, I felt actually more secure about buying the car from that person,” says Concha.

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!

Here are a few safety tips:

  1. Never share personal information like your address, email or phone number. Only communicate through Facebook Messenger.
  2. Think about where the sale will take place. Meet in a public, well-lit area, – and never give away your home address! Consider a police station. Some even have designated parking spots where marketplace meet-ups are watched by security cameras.
  3. Never exchange cash. Facebook Marketplace recommends a secure person-to-person payment method.

But even with those tips, Consumer Reports says you should still take care to prevent payment mistakes! CHYRON: Lisa Gill, Consumer Reports (SOT)

“You always want to make sure that you’re sending money to the right person before you send the full amount. So here’s one tip. Send a one dollar test payment first, then make sure that that person received it,” says Consumer Reports’ Lisa Gill.

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

One other warning about second hand sales: 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 easily check for recalls or the seat’s expiration date.