I don't know about you, but I'm always scanning through Facebook's Marketplace seeking a good deal. My cousin has had infinitely great luck, always coming up with bargains on amazing finds, but I guess I don't spend enough time on there to grind away at the good deals.

All I ever manage to find are listings that send up red flags...

Example: How many times have you spotted a cheap vehicle on Facebook and tried to make contact with the seller? Maybe they're unresponsive or they instantly send you a link to "view more about the vehicle..." That's a red flag. Obviously, they want you to click the link for one nefarious reason or another.

Lately, the con has been "Pay me here on Facebook if you want to be the buyer." Another red flag. You'll pay them via PayPal or Venmo and they'll disappear with your money. Since it's digital, it's relatively anonymous and you'll have no recourse of action to get it back.

I've been casually looking for a small utility trailer lately. Like most things these days, the value of them has skyrocketed much like used vehicles, so finding a good deal is tough, especially when you're competing with everyone else looking for the same thing.

I did run across a local Lawton listing for one of those Harbor Freight folding trailers the other day. The seller listed it for $100 and it appeared to be in good condition. While I suspected it was just another scam, I sent a message anyway and they sent red flags back almost immediately.

This person bought the trailer from the Lawton Harbor Freight, assembled it, repainted it, but didn't know anything about it. Couldn't tell me how old it was, they didn't even know what size ball hitch was on it, but since so many people were messaging him about it, I could be the buyer if I'd pay instantly right then an there through Facebook... Shenanigans.

I clicked on their profile to see how many listings they put out of this. Most scammers will list the same item in dozens of places hoping to get a little green before the jig is up, but it was the only trailer listing they had. In fact, they didn't have any duplicates, but something didn't sit right.

Out of curiosity, I decided to reverse-image search their ad. You can do that with Google these days... Upload the image and Google will tell you everywhere it appears. As it turns out, this exact photo was on hundreds of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist ads throughout the United States and dated back to an origin of 2014.

It's a trap!

I will give the local scammer props though, they keep messaging me things like "Hey if you'll cashapp it now, I'll drop it off to you this afternoon." You know bargain hunters usually can't resist such added value, but my momma didn't raise no fool. Hopefully, yours didn't either.

If you want to avoid being scammed on social media, it's simple. Never buy anything on social media. If you really want something, look it up at Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc... or show up in person and pay cash when you pick an item up.

Life isn't always simple and it's rarely black and white. Embrace the gray area, that's where you have to be the one looking out for you, and you'll be better for it. As a positive side note, the rest of us don't have to hear the tale of how you were duped out of precious money because you didn't think.

Is that victim shaming? Yes. Accept your victim shame and learn from it. It'll keep you from being a victim again.

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