Facebook Marketplace scams are always a big problem, but they reach a new level entirely around the holidays. According to international financial institution Banco Santander, its customers have lost over $8.2 million to Facebook Marketplace scams this year, a 50% increase over the last year. And that’s why the bank is implementing a new feature to warn its customers about potentially fraudulent Facebook Marketplace purchases before they can finalize a deal this holiday season.
When Santander customers now attempt to make a bank transfer to pay for a Facebook Marketplace purchase, a warning screen will appear asking if they have actually seen the item they’re paying for. If a customer answers no, their purchase won’t be authorized, and they’ll be advised to learn more about the product they’re buying. Even if customers have seen a photo of the item, they still won’t be able to buy it via their bank account until they see it in real life. And while this may seem extreme, the bank says it’s all in the interest of protecting unsuspecting people from Facebook scammers.
“Customers are losing more than ever to the criminals who carry out these scams on Facebook Marketplace and as Christmas approaches, we can expect this to increase further,” said Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management at Santander. “Building on existing measures in place to protect customers, this latest move will prompt our customers to think twice before handing over money to any potential fraudsters.”
While this is just one bank, it wouldn’t be surprising to see similar tactics get adopted by other institutions around the world to fight the rising tide of Facebook fraud.
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