TSB warns 34% of Facebook Marketplace ads are scams

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

New research from TSB Bank has found that over a third (34%) of Facebook Marketplace adverts are scam posts. 

Fraud experts from TSB sampled 100 Facebook Marketplace posts on their feed, including cars, watches, game consoles and more, engaging with the sellers to determine whether the items were genuinely for sale or potential scams. 

Sellers deemed to be scammers directed the fraud team to fake websites and refused to allow viewing of an item in-person and demanded advanced fees. TSB also discovered items advertised as ‘brand new’, for hundreds of pounds less than their real retail price. 

With over 30% of items identified as scam products, TSB is aiming to raise awareness of the rise of fraud on social media shopping channels. 

This is evident in the “excessive fraud rate” from Facebook Marketplace according to the bank, which currently accounts for 73% of all purchase fraud cases at TSB, and remains the biggest driver of fraud by volume.  

TSB’s calculations show that £60m could have been lost by customers of all banks via Facebook Marketplace in 2023, which is £160,000 lost per day on the platform. 

Matt Hepburn, Fraud Spokesperson, TSB, commented on the findings: “You wouldn’t shop at a supermarket if a third of the items were stale or counterfeit, so the same should apply to Facebook Marketplace, where you have a one in three chance of being scammed when paying online.

“Social media companies really must act on their commitments under the government’s Online Fraud Charter by urgently clearing up their platforms – removing scam adverts is a good first test.” 

Fraud rates on social media shops, including TikTok Shop and Instagram Shopping, have been alerted as a destination for fraudsters to thrive as they become increasingly more integrated. 

Guy Bauman, Co-Founder & CMO of Ironvest, told Payment Expert back in September that these social media shopping platforms have become a “gold mine for scammers”. 

He said: “Shopping on social media platforms has become a gold mine for scammers seeking to con unwitting consumers.

“Tactics for these phoney digital storefronts include sending products that are nowhere near what has been advertised for sale or, even, ghosting a buyer completely.”