PayID scam targets Australians selling items online ⚠️💰
The most common resale online marketplaces being targetted by scammers are Facebook or Gumtree
Sneaky scammers are at it again, sending fake PayID emails to trick people selling items via online platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.
Scammers pose as buyers and ask the seller if they can pay using a PayID. If the seller agrees, scammers will ask for their PayID email to complete the payment.
Scammers then send a fake PayID email to the seller. This fake email states there was an issue receiving payment because PayID limits exist on non-business accounts. The seller must first transfer funds to increase their PayID limit so they can receive the payment. As soon as this is done, they are promised they will receive a refund and the buyer’s payment.
Instead, unsuspecting sellers are tricked into paying money to scammers, and are never seen or heard from again.
Scammers will send a fake email requesting funds to upgrade your PayID account.
Last year, Australians lost $260,000 to PayID impersonation scams. Remember, PayID is managed by your bank so you will never be contacted directly. If you’re unsure about an email or message, reach out to your bank and don’t make any payments.
NAB says it is seeing an increase in fake communication surrounding PayID, which is a free and almost instant payment method that uses a person’s phone, email or ABN to send and receive money. The new scam comes as total fraud reports increased by 38 per cent for the bank in the last year.
A spokesperson for Australian Payments Plus said they became aware of scams of this nature in mid-2022. They said it was vital customers were aware they would “never, under any circumstances, have to send money first to receive a payment via PayID“.
“Additionally, customers will never need to take any additional action such as upgrading their account to a business or premium account or pay any additional fees before money can be received into their bank account [even if they are using PayID as a way of receiving money from customers in return for goods and services].
“PayID does not operate any rules around payments being sent or received from a personal versus a business account.
They said while an increase in the sophistication and prevalence of fraudulent behaviour meant customers needed to be vigilant, PayID remained a safe way for customers to receive money into their bank accounts.
The ACCC spokesperson said elements to look out for were the fact that these scammers “often won’t haggle over the price and will state they will send someone to pick up the goods without viewing them”.
“PayID is managed by your bank and you will never receive communication from PayID directly,” the spokesperson said.
They also urged Australians to be wary of anyone who is willing to pay a maximum price and/or requests a third party collect a high-value item without viewing it first.
And most importantly, be wary of requests for additional payments especially via PayID – you should never have to send money to receive payment.
How does the impersonation scam work?
Scammers, usually using fake or compromised social media profiles, make an offer to purchase an item for sale online and push for PayID to be used for the transaction, asking for the seller’s PayID email.
Shortly after, they will claim they have received an update from PayID saying as the seller does not have a “business account”, the transaction could not be completed.
To combat this, the buyer allegedly has to send extra money over to upgrade the account, which they will pressure the seller to immediately “reimburse”.
A fake email from PayID will usually be generated as “proof” of the issue and be sent to the seller as well, making the issue appear more legitimate.
As is the case in most online scams, many will not realise something is up until it is too late.
The account will often come from someone that looks legitimate and unsuspecting. They will generally enquire about your ad within the first few hours of it being posted. The scariest part is that the account does not provide hints such as typos or broken English. They ask questions, answer directly to your questions or comments and seem quite genuine.
But anyting PayID related or wanting to pay immediately and have someone else pick up the item – warning alarms should sound.
Two examples of chat dialogue from PayID scammers on Facebook Marketplace
How to spot a scam via email
If you’re communicating with someone who you still think is legitimate and they do offer payment via PayID, there are still some easy ways to identify whether it is a scam – even after giving them your email address for Pay ID. Below are a number of things to lookout for in an email:
Simple warning signs from scam emails
1. Typo in the subject line. If the email is legitimate, especially from a big bank or online marketplace, there will never be a typo in the subject line.
2. Non-related email address. Not only is there a typo in the word “shipments” but the email provider is from @gmail. This immediately screams scam and you should mark the email accordingly and then block the user on the online marketplace.
3. Additional spacing in the greeting + font size variations. Again, if the email is legitimate, especially from a big bank or online marketplace, there would never be a typo or spacing error in the opening greeting. Also, notice the font size of the “Dear Customer” vs the body text below. Another alarm siren!
4. “Business User”? Isn’t this a consumer marketplace? Case in point with this article, any reference to your account needing to be under a “Business User” is an immediate scam.
5. Send money first to receive payment later? Never. Remember to be cautious of requests for additional payments especially via PayID. You should never have to send money to then receive payments later.
You’ve been scammed — what’s next?
ACCC said just last year, $260,000 was lost to PayID impersonation scams alone — but there are tools to help you know what to look out for, or where to turn afterwards.
Step one, the ACCC said, was contacting your bank or financial institution as soon as possible.
Then, contact the platform on which you were scammed, and inform them of the circumstances surrounding it. After that, they said, tell your friends and family.
“It helps to share your experience. They can offer support and you can help protect them from scams.”
Scams can also be reported on the Scamwatch website.
To ensure you are up to speed on how best to identify email or SMS scams, read our articles below:
- Investment scams most successful with people aged 55 to 64
- How to check suspicious email links on your mobile or tablet
- Tricks to help you identify potential email scam attacks
- 8 tips to avoid falling victim to cybercrime
- Australia’s 3 biggest cyber threats that target over 60s
- The 3 most common types of investment scams
- Aussies over 65 become the largest group of victims being scammed
Subscribe to our newsletter