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PayID impersonation scams

March 2023

Consumers wanting to sell second-hand goods on online platforms are warned to watch-out for PayID impersonation scams when organising payments.

PayID, which is a popular transaction method used by most major banks, allows customers to send money with only a mobile number or email address.

It is a safe and secure method of payment, but scammers can take advantage of sellers who are not familiar with the process.

WA ScamNet has received seven reports of PayID impersonation scams, with one victim having lost $1300.

How the scam works

Consumers advertising goods for sale on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace are contacted by scammers posing as interested buyers.

The seller receives an email or text message stating the ‘buyer’ wants to use PayID to pay for the item.

Another email or message follows stating that in order for PayID to release the funds, the ‘buyer’ had to make an initial payment to allow for the seller’s account to be upgraded to a business account.

The seller then receives another email pretending to be from PayID, stating their upgraded business account contains funds that can only be released if they ‘reimburse’ the additional payment sent earlier by the buyer.

If the seller makes this payment, they will be left out of pocket, unable to contact the ‘buyer’, and with the goods still available for sale.

How to protect yourself

  • Be wary of any transactions that involve an overpayment, and requests to refund the excess money by internet banking or wire transfers.
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Wait for money to arrive in your account before sending goods (log in to your bank or PayPal and check the money is there)
  • Report scam activity to WA ScamNet