Facebook Marketplace Scam

Last Updated on March 6, 2024 by Arnav Sharma

Australians are increasingly being targeted by a PayID scam that primarily occurs on online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. This alarming scam exploits the convenience of PayID to trick unsuspecting sellers. Let’s dive into how it works and how you can protect yourself.

Understanding the PayID Scam

  • How does it happen? A “buyer” will show interest in an item you’ve listed on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree. They’ll readily agree to your price and insist on paying through PayID. At first, it seems like a legitimate transaction. But here’s where the scam begins.
  • The Fake Upgrade: The scammer will then claim they can’t send the payment because you need to upgrade to a “business account” or some other variation. They’ll even send you a fake email, seemingly from PayID, that requests money to upgrade an account or to access PayID.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

  • Unwillingness to meet in person: The scammer will avoid inspecting the goods or collecting them in person, typical of a scam targeting online marketplace transactions. They will often mention a friend or relative who’ll pick up the item, a hallmark of many scam targeting strategies online.
  • Requests for money: Remember, you never need to send money to receive money via PayID, a crucial fact to remember to avoid the fake PayID scam. It is a free service.
  • Emails from ‘PayID’: PayID is managed by your bank. They’ll never contact you via email or text. This is important to remember as contacting outside of platforms like Facebook Marketplace can be a sign of scam targeting.

The Growing Threat of PayID Scams

PayID impersonation scams are on the rise. Scamwatch reports that Australians lost a staggering $260,000 to PayID scams last year. With the cost of living pressures, scammers increasingly target people selling items online to make a quick profit. This scam targeting has been noted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as a rising trend.

Protect Yourself Against PayID Scams

  1. Trust your gut: If something feels off, it probably is. Don’t let anyone pressure you into paying money, a common tactic in the Facebook Marketplace scam.
  2. Verify directly with your bank: If you receive any suspicious emails or texts, call your bank to verify their legitimacy.
  3. Know how PayID works: PayID is a legitimate and safe way to send and receive money using your mobile number, email address, or ABN. You never need to pay to use PayID.
  4. Report scams: Report any attempts to ACCC’s Scamwatch website.

Important Reminders from NAB Executive Chris Sheehan

Chris Sheehan, NAB Executive for Group Investigations and Fraud, warns “Australians selling unwanted or used items on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and other online websites are being urged to remain vigilant.” He emphasizes that the biggest red flag in scam targeting is if someone asks you for money to make a PayID payment.

Tips for Safe Buying and Selling on Marketplaces

  • Deal in person: Opt for in-person cash transactions whenever possible to avoid the pitfalls of a Facebook Marketplace PayID scam.
  • Inspect items before buying: Check the condition of anything you’re purchasing before payment.
  • Use trusted platforms: Marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace often have buyer/seller protections, but be wary of a Facebook Marketplace PayID scam.
  • Know your rights: Understand the platform’s refund and dispute policies to protect against a potential Facebook Marketplace scam.

It’s a New Scam, But You’re Not Powerless

The PayID Facebook scam may be relatively new, but awareness is key. By understanding how scammers often target sellers using this payment method, you can avoid scams and better protect yourself when buying and selling goods online.

Remember, PayID is a safe and simple way to transfer funds. Don’t let scammers tarnish its reputation or exploit PayID for their own unlawful gains.


FAQ: 

Q: What is PayID and how is it used on platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree?

A: PayID is a free, relatively new payment method that allows users to send and receive money using a phone number or email address instead of a traditional account number. This method is often used on online platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, where buyers and sellers can easily transfer funds. PayID operates by linking a user’s bank account to a chosen identifier, such as a mobile number or email, making transactions simpler and more direct.

Q: What are some risks associated with using PayID on platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree?

A: The PayID scam targeting users on platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree is a significant risk. The scam is often if someone asks to pay by PayID and requests the victim of a scam to use their PayID for the transaction. Fraudsters may also ask for the payee’s PayID name or send a fake payment confirmation text or message directly to the seller in an attempt to deceive them into believing they have received the payment for an item they intend to purchase.

Q: How can users prevent falling victim to PayID scams on online marketplaces?

A: To prevent scams, especially those involving PayID on online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, users are advised to verify the buyer’s or seller’s information and be cautious of requests to pay or receive money through PayID. It’s important to check the PayID account details carefully and ensure the payee’s PayID name matches the intended recipient. Mr. Sheehan, an NAB Executive Group executive for fraud, also recommends contacting your bank immediately if you suspect you’ve been a victim of a scam to seek advice on how to avoid fraudulent activities and possibly recover funds.

Q: What advice does NAB offer to Aussies selling on platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree to avoid PayID scams?

A: NAB Executive Group’s fraud executive, Chris Sheehan, said Aussies selling on platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree should be wary of PayID scams. He advises sellers to be cautious when receiving payment requests via PayID and to ensure the buyer’s details are verified. If a seller is suspicious of a transaction, they should contact their bank for advice on how to avoid being scammed and discuss possibilities to recover funds if they’ve already fallen victim to a scam.

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