Those selling items online through Facebook Marketplace and other vendors are being warned to take extra caution amidst a wave of new PayID impersonation scams.

Research from NAB outlines the growth of PayID scams, revealing a 38% increase in the number of reported scams year-on-year.

Further, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) Scamwatch revealed PayID scams alone cost Aussies $260,000 throughout 2022. 

As online marketplaces replace garage sales for ease in selling unwanted items, NAB Executive Group Executive and Fraud Chris Sheehan says that scammers are exploiting those unfamiliar with how PayID payments are processed.

“PayID is a relatively new payment method and is quick, safe and simple," Mr Sheehan said. 

"It is also free – and the biggest red flag of any PayID-related scam is often if someone asks you for money to upgrade an account or to access PayID. There are never any charges related to using PayID.

"It is also important to remember PayID will never send you an email, text or message directly. If you receive one of these, it is a scam."

How do PayID scams work? 

Peter Gaal is 24 years old and works in banking - therefore most people would assume he wouldn't be vulnerable to being scammed.

While trying to sell his old car on Facebook Marketplace, Peter was conned out of $500 following an instant message he received from an interested buyer who seemed eager to buy the car.

"The Facebook account was for an elderly lady, which had been active for several years, and she also asked me several relevant questions about the car so I was convinced it was a legitimate buyer." Mr Gaal said.

The 'old lady' then stressed to Mr Gaal that she needed the car urgently, and offered him $5,500 to be transferred instantly via PayID, which he accepted. 

He immediately received a screenshot that seemingly confirmed that the money had been sent - however there was a problem.

"She mentioned that she was transferring from a Business Transaction Account, and I wasn't sure why that was relevant at first, but then I got an email from PayID that looked completely legitimate that said the minimum transaction amount from a business account was $6,000," Mr Gaal said.

Mr Gaal then went back to the seller, presenting her the fraudulent email.

She agreed to transfer an extra $500 to assure Mr Gaal of the legitimacy of the transaction, on the condition that he would transfer it straight back to her.

Once he received another (fake) screenshot of the $500 transfer, that's what he did.

"As soon as the $500 left my account, I was blocked instantly. I went straight to CBA (CommBank), and the agent said that this was a very common scam going around."

NAB launches 'See through scams' campaign

NAB launched a new education campaign to better equip both young and old Australians to spot a potential scam.

NAB research says that while young, tech savvy Australians like Mr Gaal are the group least concerned about falling victim to scams, they are in fact heavily represented in those who have fallen victim.

Only 16% of men and 18% of women aged 18-29 were worried about cyber attack or scam, but about a third (34% of men and 38% of women) had been caught by one.

NAB Executive Group Investigations & Fraud Chris Sheehan says that the bank is committed to protecting and educating all Australians.

“NAB has more than 60 projects underway across the bank to help address the impacts of scams and fraud,” he said.

“Making it harder for criminals to infiltrate banking phone numbers and text message threads and introducing protective prompts to digital banking so customers can identify potential scams are among some of the recent initiatives."


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