The Facebook PayID Scam Is All Over Marketplace –Here’s How To Spot It

"Do you have PayID?"
Loading the player...

If you have ever put your old couch, lamp or kettle up for sale on Facebook Marketplace then had a potential ‘buyer’ pushing you to use PayID, you’re not alone. It’s one of the first signs of the PayID scam Marketplace has become a target for among criminals.

As Facebook Marketplace has become more popular, there’s also been an increase in strange messages from supposed ‘buyers’ about using PayID (a payment method which uses a phone, email or ABN to send and receive money) to purchase the item. 

The messages, which seem relatively normal at first, are actually part of a scam that tricks Facebook Marketplace sellers into sending money to scammers through fake PayID email accounts. 

“These scammers often won’t haggle over the price and will state they will send someone to pick up the goods without viewing them,” a spokesperson from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) tells marie claire Australia. 

“They ask to pay by PayID and shortly after providing their PayID details, the seller receives [an] email indicating an overpayment which needs to be repaid before they can receive the payment.” 

An example of a PayID scam email.
An example of the scam email Facebook marketplace buyers are provided with. (Credit: Scamwatch)

The email, which looks convincingly real, is actually fake, as are the scammer’s claims that they will “reimburse” you for any money that leaves your account. 

While many of us presume that we can spot a scam from a mile away, these PayID scams are rarely as obvious as you might think. Scamwatch reported in February 2023 that Australians had lost $260,000 to PayID impersonation scams in the previous year. 

So, how can you avoid falling victim to a PayID scam? We asked an expert to find out.

PayID scams are on the rise.
PayID scams are on the rise. (Credit: Getty)

How To Spot A PayID Scam

The best way to avoid falling for a PayID scam is to gain a better understanding of what PayID actually is. 

Since PayID is still a relatively new payment method (launched in 2018), people tend to be less familiar with the payment process and more likely to fall for the scammer’s claims.  

According to the ACCC, “PayID allows consumers and businesses to use their mobile number, email address, ABN or Organisation Identifier to receive fast, secure payments.” 

The ACCC also notes that PayID is usually a secure payment method “because you don’t provide your account details to the purchaser.” 

When it comes to a PayID scam, the biggest red flag to be aware of is any emails, text messages or phone calls claiming to be someone from PayID. 

“PayID is managed by your bank and you will never receive communication from PayID directly,” explains the ACCC. 

The ACCC also says that alarm bells should ring if your marketplace buyer claims that a “relative” will come to pick up the item.  

“Be wary of anyone who is willing to pay the maximum price and/or requesting a third party collection without viewing a high value item for sales,” the ACCC warns. 

Most importantly, remember to be aware of any buyers asking you for a payment. You should never have to send money to receive money. 

How To Tell If A Marketplace Buyer Is Legitimate

One of the first signs that a buyer might really be a scammer is if they don’t ask about the condition of the item you’re selling. Especially if it’s an expensive item, not asking to view it first is a warning sign, according to Scamwatch.

Another way to check if a buyer is legit is to go to their profile. What details are public? Can you tell how long they’ve had a profile? If you’re selling through a group as well as Marketplace, check how long they’ve been part of the group. It’s not definitive but it can help determine if the person is who they say they are.

You can also ask if they’re willing to make the payment in a different way, such as by direct transfer or cash (if it’s a pick-up sale). There are plenty of other legitimate ways to make a payment, which makes insisting on PayID suspicious.

What Should I Do If I Have Been The Victim Of A PayID Scam? 

Falling for a PayID scam can happen to anyone. If you think you might have been scammed, the ACCC recommends taking the following actions. 

  • Contact your bank or financial institution as soon as possible.
  • Contact the platform on which you were scammed, and inform them of the circumstances surrounding the scam. 
  • The ACCC encourages you to make a report on the Scamwatch website. You can also follow @scamwatch_gov on Twitter/X and subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts
  • Tell your friends and family. It helps to share your experience, they can offer support and you can help protect them from scams.


Can I Get Money Back From PayID?

Unfortunately, getting money back after you have made a PayID transfer is difficult and may not be possible. This is because the payments are almost instant and managed by each individual bank. That’s why it’s important to contact your bank straight away. They may be able to request a reversal through the receiving bank or give you more guidance.

Related stories