BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning Facebook users of buy-and-sell scams on the social media platform.

How the scam works, according to BBB:

“You are scrolling through Facebook, and a gut-wrenching post about an injured, lost pet or a missing child grabs your attention. You want to help, so you share the post on your own profile.

After you share the post, a scammer changes the original post to a deceptive rental ad or sometimes to a link pointing to a survey that “guarantees” a cash prize. Now, your friends think you have recommended that content. These bait-and-switch ads aim to either get a deposit for a rental property before the user gets a chance to see the home- or get your personal information, which could lead to identity theft.”

BBB shares tips to avoid falling victim to Facebook scams:

  • Do a bit of digging before resharing a post on your profile. Read the information carefully and look at the profile of the person who created and shared the original post. If the profile is from Florida but shared the post in a Canadian group, it may be a red flag of a bait-and-switch publication.
  • Find out when the poster created the Facebook profile. Scammers always create profiles when their old one gets banned. If you click on their profile, it will tell you how long they have been a member of the group. You can also find additional information on their public profile.
  • You should see it in the news. If a child goes missing or a tragedy occurs, you’ll most likely see it on different news outlets or shared by law enforcement, not on a random post. 
  • Do a reverse image search on Google. That will allow you to find out if the pictures you saw were used on other ads or websites in different cities. 
  • Find similar posts. Copy and paste the text from the post into Facebook’s search tool to see if other posts with the same text and different pictures show up.
  • If you suspect a post is a scam, report it to Facebook.

Scams can be reported to the BBB via its Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.