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Consumer Alert- Cyber Criminals Target Marketplace Sellers

A jump in Marketplace Listings

Many Hoosiers are getting creative to keep their heads above water with the declining economy by selling unused and unwanted items on marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace; the increase of marketplace listings is becoming commonplace as people scrounge the extra money needed to cover utilities and groceries to sustain themselves. This article is for informational purposes to make you aware so you can take steps to protect yourself.

What is the scam?

Sellers list items for sale and share in groups on Facebook, and other social media platforms are seeing replies for potential buyers asking the seller to "verify their identity" by texting back a code that is sent to the seller's phone or email. What seems to be a reasonable request for a seller to validate their identity may seem innocent and warranted in today's world, which can cause your account to get cloned or worse. Facebook and Google urge caution not to share the code with anyone, even if they ask.

When people share the code, the scammer uses that code to take control of that user's account or profile. If you have your bank account tied to that profile, they can take control of your profile and spend money out of your account. They use the codes to access your friend list and even steal photos and contacts to mimic a fake profile. We are seeing the code scam showing up on sellers and buyers alike, but we cannot emphasize this enough, never give the code out.

5 Tips To Help You Protect Yourself

  1. Set up 2-step/ 2-factor login on all of your accounts. For some of you, this advice might seem like old news but, it is a really good way to protect yourself from hackers.

  2. Make passwords that people cannot guess. These criminals are good at what they do, but you have to stay a step ahead of them, if you are using anything that personally identifies you on your passwords, you run the risk of that information being discovered by hackers.

  3. Delete unused apps and games from your devices; hackers are not only targeting you; they are targeting businesses and site owners. If you delete an unused app, not only will you clear the space on your device and run faster, but you also reduce the risk of exposure.

  4. Check before you click. Amazon does not use websites, they never have, and they never will. Neither does Walmart, Macy's, or even us! Get into good practice to expose the full link of a site before you click on it, even if you found it in a google search.

  5. Check the email's sender. If that is a business-related email coming from a free email provider, instead of responding or clicking on the link in the email, open a new tab and visit the site directly.


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