Leading bank steps up warning over scam aimed at Aussies selling items online

One of Australia’s big four banks is warning Australians to be on the lookout for a PayID scam targeting people selling used items online.

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has urged Australians selling unwanted or used items on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and other online websites to exercise greater caution after data revealed a 66 per cent increase in reports of goods and services scams in the past three months.

NAB says a third of these reports involved criminals trying to exploit PayID, which uses a mobile phone number, email address or ABN to send and receive money.

Chris Sheehan, investigations and fraud executive at NAB, says scammers increased their efforts targeting online marketplaces significantly in late 2022 and the problem continues to grow.

“We are getting reports of people selling an old TV or fridge online and being inundated with identical messages from scammers wanting to purchase the item with PayID,” he says.

“The buyer often claims the transaction couldn’t be completed because the seller doesn’t have a PayID ‘business account’.

“[Then] the scammer might say they’ve paid to upgrade the seller’s account and now needs to be reimbursed.”

According to scam monitoring service Scamwatch, Australians lost $260,000 to PayID-specific impersonation scams last year, although the true number is likely to be much higher as most scams go unreported.

“Customer reports of scams to NAB increased 38 per cent year on year,” Mr Sheehan says.

“We’ll always make every attempt to prevent scams and recover funds where possible, but it can be very difficult once the funds have left a customer’s account.”

Is PayID safe to use?

PayID was introduced in 2018 as a secure payment method for financial transactions in Australia and has become an industry-wide standard for payments. It was specifically meant to combat this type of fraudulent activity, so can it be trusted.

Mr Sheehan says the technology is sound, but people need to exercise extra caution when selling items online.

“Scammers have realised online marketplaces can be an easy way to rip people off,” he says.

“They’re also exploiting the fact PayID is a relatively new payment method with money being transferred instantly.”

Be on the lookout for anybody asking you to pay money to upgrade an account or to access someone’s PayID.

When selling something online, be wary of anybody telling you need to pay additional fees before money can be received into your bank account.

Another suspicious sign is receiving communication directly from ‘PayID’ via email, text, or messenger.

“There are never any charges related to using PayID,” Mr Sheehan says.

“It’s also important to remember PayID will never send you an email, text or message directly as your bank registers and manages PayIDs.

“If you get an email, text or message directly from ‘PayID’ it is a scam.”

Have you tried selling anything online recently? Did you encounter any messages like this? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Over-65s top the duped list as Aussies lose record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. Whenever my wife or I offer transactions or purchases on Facebook Marketplace, we always INSIST on payment by cash-in-hand, and by personal pickup only.

    We NEVER accept any payment or offer of payment online. Another buyer scam trick is to offer for some relative or friend to collect the item for them while they pay directly to your bank account. CAUTION, this is nearly ALWAYS A SCAM – don’t be fooled.

    The best advice I can offer anybody is to ALWAYS err on the side of caution.

  2. Have used marketplace often to sell goods. Get lots of enquires that ask to pay with pay I’d and can a relative collect goods. Always only accept cash. Often check their face book profile. Most come from overseas. I often ask the how the can collect goods from overseas. Never reply.

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