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TSB finds over a third of adverts on Facebook Marketplace could be scams

TSB finds over a third of adverts on Facebook Marketplace could be scams

TSB is advising consumers to avoid making online purchases on Facebook Marketplace, warning that over a third (34%) of the adverts tested on the platform are scam posts.

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

The study concluded that 34 percent 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.

The findings chime with the excessive fraud rate from Facebook Marketplace, which currently accounts for 73 percent 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, amounting to a daily fraud count of £160,000.

Matt Hepburn, fraud spokesperson, TSB, says: “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."

In November, Eleven Big Tech firms and social media platforms signed up to a UK Online Fraud Charter to combat rising levels of scams from fake adverts and romance fraud, pledging to verify new advertisers and "promptly" remove any fraudulent content.

Says Hepburn: “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.”

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 19 January, 2024, 10:29Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

If banks are going to be held liable for reimbursement for APP Scam due to proposed Drunk Under Lamp Post regulation, I totally get why they'd want to take preemptive action to nip the problem in the bud. But, even by modern best practice of using sample size of only 2000 to survey populations of 60M or more, TSB's sample size of 100 Facebook Marketplace posts seems very small.