Safety Tips for Buying and Selling on Facebook

By Carolyn Abram, Amy Karasavas

While Facebook tries to take some of the guesswork out of buying and selling your used items online, the fact remains that you will be interacting with someone you don’t know. Here are a few basic safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Watch out for scammers: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t let people upend your common sense. There is no reason someone selling something or buying something from you will ever need your passwords, credit card numbers, or anything like that. You should never transfer money to someone until you have the item in your hands and have checked to make sure it is as advertised.
  • Use cash or person-to-person payment methods: You can use Facebook to make payments (if both people are using debit cards), or other apps where the money immediately gets moved from one account to another. Checks can be faked or bounced. Cash is probably your best bet.
  • Try to meet in neutral locations: If possible when arranging to sell someone something, try to meet in a neutral, public location. This makes both people feel safer about, you know, meeting someone from the internet. Let someone know where you’ll be and who it is you are going to meet.
  • Give out your address judiciously: Of course, a neutral location might not be possible, or worthwhile to you, especially if you’re selling something small. So don’t give out your full address to someone until they’ve committed to coming to pick up your item. And if something about them sets off your Spidey sense, don’t force yourself to meet them!