Beware of this 'designer furniture' scam sweeping Facebook Marketplace

In the digital age, the convenience of online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace revolutionised the way we shop. From the comfort of our homes, we can browse, buy, and sell items with ease.

However, this convenience also opens the door to new forms of deception, as some Australians have learned the hard way.

A recent 'designer furniture' scam has emerged, targeting unsuspecting Aussies and leaving them out of pocket and without the luxury items they thought they were securing.

The scam, which has already fooled at least three individuals, involves listings of high-end furniture items such as a black leather Togo couch set by Michel Ducaroy, offered at a fraction of their retail value.

The catch? A deposit is required to secure the deal, and once paid, the seller disappears, leaving buyers with lighter wallets and no furniture.

Screenshot 2024-05-13 110128.png
A black leather Togo couch set was listed on Facebook Marketplace. Image source:

Jason Fassbender, Georgina Solomon, and her friend Bec were among those enticed by the too-good-to-be-true prices.

The designer couch set, which typically retails between $8,000 to $33,000, was listed for a mere $800.

Georgina, a seasoned Marketplace user and founder of a photography studio that champions sustainability, was naturally drawn to what seemed like an incredible find.

She claimed that she always outsources items for her studio from the platform, and was surprised to see a high-end product listed for such a low price.

‘I contacted the seller who would respond at really weird hours such as 2 a.m. or 4 a.m.,’ she said.

‘I had a gut feeling about it that something wasn't quite right. He would ask me questions and I felt pressured to buy,’ Georgina added.

She almost paid a $200 deposit to secure the sale but decided to visit the provided address in Surry Hills to view the couch.

However, upon visiting the provided address in Surry Hills to view the couch, she was met with the disappointing truth from a resident who had become all too familiar with the scam.

‘I knocked on the door and this poor guy answered then said, "Oh no, not more,"’ she recalled.

‘His face said it all and I told him, "Oh no, it's a scam, isn't it?" and he nodded.’

Screenshot 2024-05-13 112519.png
Georgina realised the listing was a scam when she visited the address in Surry Hills. Image source: _georginasolomon/Instagram

'The man said: "I'm so sorry, there's no couches here. You've been scammed. I had over 20 people come to my doorstep yesterday,’ Georgina shared.

The resident, tired of the constant stream of duped buyers at his doorstep, had taken to placing a warning note on his door, advising others to report the fraudulent profile.

Georgina was fortunate to have avoided financial loss, but not everyone was as lucky.

Bec, in the process of moving house, had already handed over a $100 deposit, seduced by the possibility of scoring a designer piece at a bargain price.

The 40-year-old woman found the same couch on Facebook Marketplace while she was moving and wanted to exchange some furniture.

Bec said: ‘You can get lucky sometimes because some people don't know the value of the items they have.’

‘I reached out to see if the couch was still available. To be honest it did strike me as too good to be true,’ she admitted.

‘Even if it was a scam I was willing to lose $100. It was worth the risk just in case the listing was real.’

After being sent the Surry Hills address, she entered it into Google and soon realised that the property did not match the exposed brick house shown in the photos.

Bec then decided to do a little more research on the profile, which although appeared to be authentic with 5,400 followers, had a location tag pointing to Africa.

‘I was still in denial but then I saw a photo on Georgina's Instagram story of the same couch and a note on the front door of the property,’ she said.

The note read:

‘Hi there,

Please report the profile Mwaki Kenson on FB Marketplace as you have been misled. There are no designer couches here.


Bec contacted the seller to request a refund for her deposit and also shared a picture of the note. However, the seller immediately blocked Bec after receiving the message.

She pointed out: ‘It would only take ten people paying a $100 deposit for him to make bank on that one listing.’

Jason Fassbender’s story has a strong resemblance to what Georgina and Bec experienced.

He said: ‘I was browsing Marketplace and saw what appeared to be an unbelievably great deal on a vintage Mario Bellini le bambole sofa, so I started the enquiry process by asking why it was being sold so cheap.’

The seller promptly responded, clarifying that the lower price was because they required a quick sale before relocating to Melbourne. The product was listed for $850, whereas it is sold elsewhere for up to $15,000.

Jason requested additional pictures, which were provided. His following actions allowed him to stay ahead of the fraudster.

‘I reverse image searched them and found all the exact same pictures to a 1st Dibs listing where the sofa was intact—$15,000,’ he shared.

‘When I asked the seller about it, he blocked me,’ Jason added.

The scam is a stark reminder of the risks associated with online shopping, particularly on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, where user verification is minimal and scams are rife.

To help you stay safe, here are some tips to avoid falling victim to similar scams:

1. If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is:
Designer items at a fraction of the cost should raise red flags. Always question why an item is being sold so cheaply.

2. Verify Before You Buy:
Don't rely on pictures alone. Request current photos of the item and, if possible, arrange to see it in person before making any payment.

3. Be Wary of Urgency:
Scammers often create a sense of urgency to pressure you into making a quick decision. Take your time and think things through.

4. Strange Payment Requests:
Be cautious if the seller insists on non-traditional payment methods, such as gift cards or wire transfers.

5. Do Your Research:
Check the seller's profile for inconsistencies, and don't be afraid to use tools like reverse image search to verify the authenticity of the listing images.

6. Trust Your Instincts:
If something feels off, it probably is. Listen to your gut feeling, and don't proceed if you're uncomfortable.

The allure of finding a good deal online can be strong, but it's essential to remain vigilant and sceptical.

By following these guidelines, you can protect yourself from scammers looking to exploit the unwary.
Key Takeaways
  • Three Australians were victims of a scam involving the sale of 'designer furniture' on Facebook Marketplace, including a falsely advertised black leather Togo couch set by Michel Ducaroy.
  • The scam involved the listing of expensive designer furniture at significantly reduced prices, with a deposit required to secure the deal, which led more than 20 people to fall for it.
  • Victims were tricked into paying deposits but discovered the scam when visiting the provided addresses or conducting further research on the sellers and the furniture.
We at the Seniors Discount Club urge our members to share their experiences and tips for safe online shopping. Have you encountered similar scams, or do you have advice for fellow bargain hunters? Comment below with your stories and suggestions!
I think Facebook/Meta have to block these people & take some accountability. If people report these scammers straight away. My friends photo was posted the other day. Different name. Typical facebook didn't want to know.
Facebook has over one Billion users, how are they going to control this. And there are numerous other platforms doing the saem, you just don't hear about this as much from them due to smaller numbers.

People have to be smarter, any ad you see you must check out the seller first, maybe meet with them first before any money changes hands. No different to the old days with newspaper classifieds, I assume you wouldn't just post a seller a cheque and hope they send the goods.

Use your brains.
Query - Why did Georgina use that photo for the article (bit tacky).
Turned me off reading any more of the article she wrote.
Without knowing anything about the aforementioned Georgia lady, the word "influencer" sprang instantly to mind when I saw the pic which was, presumably, allied to the purchase.
The second thought was, if she had the good taste to select that collection of overstuffed faux leather, she deserves everything she gets.
"Influencers?". To use the words of Sam Goldwyn, "From here on in, include me out."

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