TSB is warning consumers to avoid making online purchases on Facebook Marketplace. Fraud experts have assessed that 34% of the adverts tested on the platform to be scam posts. 

Members of TSB’s fraud team sampled 100 Facebook Marketplace posts on their feed. This ranged from cars, watches, games consoles, air fryers and handbags. They engaged with the seller to determine whether the items were genuinely for sale, or scams.  

The fraud experts concluded that 34% of the listings were fraudulent once the seller used tactics known to be commonly used by purchase fraud criminals. For instance, sellers deemed to be scammers directed TSB fraud experts to fake websites, 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. 

For example, During the investigation, TSB discovered an iPhone 13, listed as ‘brand new’ at £84. When the Apple website sells this model for £599. On contacting the seller, TSB’s fraud expert was directed to a scam website to make the payment. Phones were the second most scammed item, behind vehicles/vehicle parts.

£160,000 could have been lost on Facebook Marketplace each day

The findings chime with the excessive fraud rate from Facebook Marketplace, 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 being lost every day on the platform. 

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Matt Hepburn, Fraud Spokesperson, TSB, said: “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.”