How to protect yourself from scams when selling items online: Tips to avoid falling victim

Title: Protect Yourself from PayID Scams When Buying and Selling Online


Every day, Australians use online trading sites like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree to sell unwanted items. However, scammers are constantly targeting unsuspecting buyers and sellers, resulting in millions of dollars lost through fraudulent schemes. One popular scam is the PayID scam, which has cost Australians over $260,000 in 2022 alone. This article explains how the PayID scam works and provides tips on how to avoid falling victim to it.

What is PayID?

PayID is a legitimate electronic payment method introduced in Australia in 2018. It simplifies money transfers by allowing users to link their bank accounts to a unique identifier, such as a phone number, email address, or ABN. PayID reduces the risk of incorrect payments and fraud by displaying the recipient’s name during transactions.

How does the PayID scam work?

Scammers typically contact sellers on online platforms, expressing interest in purchasing an item without questioning the price or requesting to view it. They then urge sellers to accept payment through PayID. Once the seller shares their PayID information (usually a phone number or email address), scammers employ various tactics. They may claim that the payment cannot be processed due to an issue with the seller’s PayID account and ask for an “upgrade” or additional payment to release the funds. In some cases, scammers pretend to have paid the extra amount and request reimbursement. Any money transferred will go directly to the scammer and be lost.

How to avoid a PayID scam:

To protect yourself from PayID scams when selling goods online, watch out for these warning signs:

1. PayID is a free service, so there should be no associated costs or fees.

2. PayID will never contact customers directly through texts, emails, or phone calls. Any communication claiming to be from PayID is fake.

3. Genuine buyers usually inspect and collect goods in person. Be cautious if a buyer insists on sending a family member or friend to collect the item, especially if they refuse to pay in cash.

What to do if you’ve been scammed:

If you suspect you’ve fallen victim to a PayID scam, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. Report the incident to ReportCyber, an online police reporting portal for cyber incidents. Additionally, inform Scamwatch to contribute to their education and awareness efforts. If your personal information has been compromised, seek support from IDCARE.


With the rise of online marketplaces, scammers are increasingly targeting unsuspecting buyers and sellers. The PayID scam is one such scheme that has cost Australians millions of dollars. By staying vigilant and following the tips provided, you can protect yourself from falling victim to PayID scams and other fraudulent activities when buying or selling goods online. Visit the Scamwatch website for more information on different types of scams and how to stay safe.