Social media can be a wonderful place for us in Louisiana to find great deals, but you also must be very cautious according to officials. Here are the tips you need.

The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is trying to get the word out to our community about people who are scamming others out of money by placing fake ads for items on social media.

You could be looking at some terrific deal on a used car or an RV. Scammers are looking to get big money from you with big-ticket items that are supposedly discounted, but in reality, they don't exist.

Sale Signs
Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

What Do You Need to Know?

BBB President and CEO Chirs Babin issued advice about making sure people are very careful when they decide to use social platforms to buy items. Deals can be very enticing when the price is super low, but don't fall for their trap.

The Scam Tracker feature on the BBB website has seen an uptick in the number of people in our area reporting they have been scammed out of money when using Facebook Marketplace.

You can find terrific local deals on items you want, but you do have to be careful with a deal "that looks/sounds too good to be true." There are plenty of wonderful people from all over Louisiana who are honest and just want to sell their items. Just be very aware there are other people looking to steal from you. These types of scams are everywhere. Proceed with caution.

Sale Sign
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

What Are Some Red Flags You Should Look For?

What if you do see a great deal or you want an item? Babin says to look for the following that might indicate you're going to get played:

  • The seller tries telling you they are in the military and have to sell fast scrutinize them carefully
  • The seller wants you to think they are in another country, ask why they would be on the local Facebook Marketplace
  • The seller tries to get you to pay them in gift cards
  • The seller wants to pay you will Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal

Babin says if any of these things pop up you should really consider if this person is trying to take your money. Many people use money apps, but it's advised that you find a safe place to make an exchange, that you take someone with you, and that you don't agree to turn over your money until you have the item in your hands.

STOP sign, Staff photo
STOP sign, Staff photo

Here Are Some Places Online That Aren't Real

Babin says unscrupulous people who are just trying to get your money will use tactics like those above. After they've got your money they will block your profile, and disappear from social media.

There are legitimate items for sale, but watch out for ads on Craigslist and anyone that doesn't want to meet in a place that is safe.

He says some of these thieves will even pretend to be the shipping agent for your item, and they will ask you for more money. These people try to sell things that don't exist like vehicles, pets, and so-said free trials.

Many police stations throughout Acadiana and across the state of Louisiana have an area designated for just these types of transactions.

Baton Rouge Police Safe Transaction Zone
Photo courtesy of AG Jeff Landry

If you do buy something, and you have lost money, Babin says you should contact law enforcement. After that, you can record what happened in the Scam Tracker section of their website.

In the end, just put safety first, and never give out any personal information. There is nothing wrong with asking plenty of questions to make sure you aren't being scammed.

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