One of the most popular platforms Facebook Marketplace has left 13 people dead since the start of the pandemic., it has been claimed.
Thousands of scammers are allegedly taking advantage of the online buying and selling site but it has been unable to prevent fraudulent and dangerous activity, The Sun claims
The platform was launched in 2016 and has become hugely popular with more than one billion users.
Postings are checked by artificial intelligence (AI) before being published.
But it is claimed scammers and networks of fake accounts have sprung up according to an investigation by ProPublica.
Around 400 employees work in AI, have failed to prevent fraudulent or even dangerous transactions.
Image:Cambria County Jail)
A woman from Pennsylvania, was allegedly stabbed to death when she went to pick up "a cheap refrigerator" she had seen on a listing on the platform according to WJAC-TV.
In April, the body of Denise Williams, a 54-year-old nurse was found in Joshua Gorgone's apartment after her family reported her missing.
Authorities say she went to the 26-year-old's apartment to pick up the fridge, which was meant for her boyfriend.
Gorgone now faces charges of homicide and aggravated assault.
Image:Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office)
In another incident in March, Joseph Vindel's body was found dead in his car in New Orleans shortly after he went to meet up with someone who had expressed interest in buying his dirt bike.
The 29-year-old estate agent had posted his dirt bike on Facebook Marketplace WVUE reported.
Jalen Harvey, 20, was charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, and obstruction of justice.
Authorities questioned Harvey after seeing his messages with Vindel about the sale of the dirt bike. Harvey reportedly confessed to the crime and police said the bike was found on his patio.
Other Facebook Marketplace transactions which have turned dangerous include an incident in May.
Casey Parten, 21, and his 24-year-old brother Tyler were allegedly trying to buy a dirt bike from 16-year-old Ashawn Adams when shots were fired.
Adams died at the scene and Casey Parten later died at a hospital, per WGCL-TV.
Melissa Miller, 54, was also killed in May after posting a computer for sale on Facebook Marketplace.
WNKY. reported how Aaron Aiden Rodriguez is accused of shooting her dead in her Kentucky apartment after he supposedly turned up to buy the computer.#
And in June, Edward Stokes, 17, was charged with a South Carolina man Alexander Presley, 34, who was killed while buying an ATV on Facebook Marketplace WIS-TV reported.
He was allegedly shot in front of his wife and two children as they were robbed
Image:SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Stokes then allegedly pointed the gun at her, before getting in her and her husband’s vehicle and driving away.
Kyle Craig was also killed in the same month while buying an ATV quad bike he spotted on Marketplace.
Authorities believe the 26-year-old from Mississippi took a big sum of money to the meetup and was robbed and shot multiple times.
A boy, who has not been named, was arrested while a second suspect, Montavious Landfair, went on the run Newsweek reported.
Chicago Police said two teenagers were shot dead in July 2020, as a result of a Marketplace posting.
Charlie Perez, 17, and Enrique Gonzalez were killed while meeting Davion Jones, 18, who had shown interest in buying Perez's father’s Honda Civic.
Jones now faces two counts of first-degree murder, according to reports in the Chicago Sun-Times.
ProPublica also found the platform is used scams, ranging from lottery numbers and puppies to work visas and even vaccine cards.
Both legitimate buyers and sellers have suffered financial losses, hacked Facebook accounts, and stolen personal information as a result.
However, the company told ProPublica: “All online marketplaces face challenges, and ours is no exception, which is why we’re always working to prevent new ways to scam and defraud people.
"Any suggestion that we aren’t trying to solve these complex problems or protect people who use Marketplace is not only false but misunderstands our entire approach to safety.”
Experts say anyone selling or buying anything online should not meet at someone's house for the transaction, but use a public space as the meetup spot.
They also recommend bringing someone along for a meeting.
According to CNET many US police stations "exchange spots" are provided in their parking lots designed for meetups.
If the police station doesn't have an exchange spot, parking areas next to police stations are considered to be the safest place to meet a stranger.
A spokesman for Facebook said: "All online marketplaces face challenges and ours is no exception, which is why we’re always working to prevent new ways to scam and defraud people.
"Any suggestion that we aren’t trying to solve these complex problems or protect people who use Marketplace is not only false but misunderstands our entire approach to safety.
"People use it because their experiences are positive, and to help make sure that continues, we are working to improve our enforcement and deliver the highest quality peer-to-peer online marketplace available.”