Facebook Scammer Tricked His Way Into Victims’ Home Before Stealing Laptop

Facebook Marketplace is one of the most popular platforms in the world for buying and selling goods. Unfortunately, this means that it’s also a ripe target for scammers and cybercriminals, who are becoming increasingly bold in their strategies to rip off unsuspecting users. This week, the BBC published a disturbing report from a couple who were tricked into welcoming a Facebook scammer into their home, even allowing him to meet their three-month-old daughter.

The couple wanted to sell an old laptop on Marketplace, and exchanged several messages with the buyer. His account appeared completely legitimate, with pictures of his wife and kids and details about where he lived and worked. They welcomed him into their house and offered him a drink, and he opened up what appeared to be a legitimate banking app on his phone. The couple then entered their banking info, and he “transferred” the cash, telling them that it could take a few hours. He then left with the laptop. However, a few hours later, he had deleted all of his account information, blocked his phone number, and completely disappeared.

The couple have reached out to both Facebook and the police for help, but so far have received none. Experts say the best defense against scams like this is to be extremely cautious about who you’re dealing with.

“Behave online as you would do in real life. Assume that if you’re dealing with someone you don’t know, presume they are not trustworthy until proven otherwise,” said Nick Stapleton, a scam correspondent for the BBC. “Facebook Marketplace is an add-on to an existing social media site. You need to treat it like the classified ads in the newspaper. You have no idea who’s listed that advert.”

Of course Facebook users should be careful about who they interact with online, but the platform itself should take some responsibility for allowing scammers like this to operate with such impunity.

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