Common Facebook Marketplace Guitar Scams

If you’ve been considering online platforms as a place to buy and sell musical equipment, you’ve probably considered Facebook’s Marketplace. 

While it may be a decent platform to use, there are also a ton of scammers who take advantage of these platforms.

Some of Facebook Marketplace’s most common scams are:

  1. Paying or communicating outside of Facebook
  2. Mailing Items
  3. Selling Counterfeit Items
  4. Overpaying the Seller
  5. Requesting Advance payment
  6. Selling items that don’t work
  7. Fake giveaways
  8. Inconsistent pricing

Because of how easy it is to create a profile on Facebook, you’re likely to encounter at least one of these scams every time you go onto their marketplace. 

So today we’re going to look at what they are exactly and how to spot them and avoid falling prey to them.

Most common scams when selling guitars on Facebook Marketplace

A bit of a preface, a lot of these scams work both for selling and buying, with the roles just being slightly reversed. 

So you’ll find a few repeats with slight distinctions in the following sections.

Paying or communicating outside of Facebook  

Scammers will often try to pull you off of platforms and into private deals in order to rob you of any security you might have. 

Facebook Marketplace generally doesn’t have much security anyway, but if you do make payments through their portal, it gives you some capacity to retrieve your lost money or track your items. 

Using a platform to conduct business gives you security in that you’re conducting it publicly. 

Privately conducted deals can only be resolved between the parties involved, which means you’ll likely never get anything returned because scammers don’t work that way.

Mailing Items  

When selling through Facebook marketplace, you run the risk of not getting paid for what you deliver

Scammers often try to use mailing services as a means of delivery so that they can avoid meeting in person, where cash payment becomes the most viable option.

Scammers will request that you use a mailing service to send your guitar to them and offer to pay electronically or through other means of non-cash payments. 

They might even pay you and then claim that they never received the item and request a refund, even though they did receive the guitar.

They may also send you a fake check that will usually bounce. When someone requests that you use mail service to get stuff to them, start looking for a  buyer elsewhere.

Overpaying the Seller 

Another common internet scam that you’ll encounter is a scammer that sends “too much” money, often claiming that it’s for shipping expenses or other things. 

They then request that you pay back the difference.

The insidious thing about this is that only do they take your gear, but they also get you to pay them for it. 

If anyone ever sends you a check that far surpasses your asking price, it’s most definitely a scam. 

Most common scams when buying guitars on Facebook Marketplace

Paying or communicating outside of Facebook

This counts the same for buying as it does for selling

Your greatest security is using public platforms and keeping documentation. 

When you make your dealings private, then your problems become private as well.

Mailing Items

When purchasing through Facebook marketplace, buyers run the risk of not receiving what they pay for. 

Scammers often try to use mailing services as a means of delivery so that they can avoid meeting in person, where cash payment becomes the most viable option.

Scammers will claim that they can only mail items to you and request that you pay electronically or through other means of non-cash payments like Western Union. 

When the item doesn’t arrive, you will usually find it impossible to get your money back.

Requesting Advance payment

Scammers will often ask you to put a downpayment on items you’re wanting to buy from them. 

This is a cheap and easy way for them to try to get a quick buck out of you

It’s one of the less destructive forms of scams, but it’s still something to avoid.

You’ll encounter scammers all over marketplace pages and the simplest thing to keep in mind to avoid this kind of scam is that you as a buyer do not make advance payments.

Selling counterfeit items or items that don’t work

Facebook Marketplace is filled with great-looking items with suspiciously low pricetags. 

My advice to you is if you ever encounter any goods that look too much like a steal, don’t even click on the ad.

There are sites like Sweetwater and The Music Zoo, where they have great deals and they’ve been legitimately curated by a sales team. 

In this case, you can be sure that the item exists, works, and isn’t a fake.

On Facebook Marketplace, there’s no curation by a team of Facebook employees. 

This means that any deal you see for an ultimate, rare guitar for the price of your average Fender is unlikely to be the real deal. 

You can always ask to meet up in person and see, but that’s the closest you have proof and a check.

If you’re on a free posting board like Facebook or Craigslist and you see individuals posting valuables at insanely low prices, you’re better off not taking the risk.

Fake giveaways

Another scam that scammers love to pull is fake giveaways. 

You most likely won’t get it directly from an ad, but you might message a seller and find that later they’re sending you messages about free items.

Another thing that happens is just mass spam messages. 

Scammers cast out a net by messaging the same giveaway to everyone on their friends list and the sad thing is that statistically, someone falls prey to it.

Don’t be that someone. 

Individuals or unheard-of companies don’t generally do giveaways and if they’re asking you to sign up to be eligible by giving away your personal information it’s even more of a red flag. 

A simple way to avoid this scam: don’t run after giveaways.

Inconsistent pricing

This scam is often less obvious to spot, and you’ll usually encounter it through messaging a seller that has a reasonably priced item for sale. 

What then happens is they try to haggle you for a higher price. 

It’s not so much a scam as it is someone being dishonest and shifty in their dealings, but it’s still something you want to avoid. 

If you contact someone about their listing and the price changes, you don’t need to fight them for it, just simply stop messaging them.

If they’re a decent person, they’ll either learn and stop doing it or raise their price to what they want.

Does Facebook Marketplace offer any kind of protection against scams?

Not particularly. 

Facebook does have buyer protection for purchases made on their site and paid through their platform, but it’s usually through legit businesses and wholesalers. 

For example, you could possibly buy a fender from fender’s Facebook account (although you’re more likely to get linked directly to their store) and then you could make the transaction through Facebook.

If your item isn’t delivered or if something goes wrong, Facebook can assist and mediate.

In the marketplace, business interactions are more a case of individuals contacting individuals and Facebook provides little to no assurance if things go awry.

Facebook, however, like many other platforms, does have an FAQ page that covers scamming and online safety practices. This is usually the best that ad posting boards can do because the best defense and security you have against getting scammed is your common sense.

How to prevent scams on Facebook Marketplace?

So we’ve covered a couple of scams and how to spot them. I’ve even covered how to respond to them. 

As far as preventing scams from happening, you’re unlikely to prevent scams, but you can take steps to not be a victim of a scam.

  • You could report the user for fraudulent activity, Facebook has that option. 
  • You could remain informed about the kind of scams people are trying to pull
  • Listen to your gut if something feels off
  • Try using an alternative platform with more user security like Reverb or The Music Zoo
  • Inform other users when you encounter a scam account

At the end of the day, you’ll never prevent scams, because there will always be people looking to take advantage of others, but you don’t have to be a statistic.