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SWFL residents scammed through Facebook Marketplace, other media platforms

Experts weigh in on how Southwest Florida residents can protect themselves
Posted at 10:12 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 05:21:25-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Social media has become a popular place to buy and sell gently used items from friends, families, and even strangers; some of those strangers are scamming Southwest Florida residents.

"Consumers get scammed through many different channels, one of them being on social media accounts like Facebook," Byran Oglesby with the West Florida BBB explains why online scamming has become so common.

One reason is apps.

Eugene Hoyt, an Instructor II in the Department of Computer Information Systems at FGCU says to stick with only one money app and understands its nuances.

"This way, you can confirm that you want to purchase or sell an item, through that means so this way you can feel comfortable," said Hoyt.

Hoyt says now that scammers can mimic everything down to the emails you receive from those trusted apps, clicking on the sender line to see who it’s actually from, will help protect yourself from scammers.

"Trying to get yourself to be a little more of a smooth to understand what these scams might be, is your better defense, you know… they get better and better every day," Hoyt added, you need to go beyond the obvious red flags.

Once you trust your app, it's time to think about the process of buying and selling items, "If someone is quick to offer or buy something from you, they’re not asking questions, they’re quick to give you the money and then have to follow up instructions afterward, that’s going to be a big red flag," Oglesby said.

Oglesby says while the BBB gets reports of scammers, it's still not happening enough, "Scams, in general, are very underreported, so the more that consumers report scams when they’re the subject of them, tell your story, be a citizen hero and help warn others."

If you think you've been a victim of a scam, or you are wondering what's popular for a scamming target in your area, click here for the BBB scam tracker,