Rise in online scams on marketplaces sparks warning

The increase in scams involving PayID on online sale platforms triggers a national alert.

Rise in online scams on marketplaces sparks warning
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The National Australia Bank has issued a warning to individuals vending second-hand or unwanted goods on websites such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, following a worrying surge in scamming activities. 

The bank's data analysis, released today, reveals a sharp 66 per cent escalation in goods and services scams over the past quarter.

A notable third of these scam incidents involved fraudsters exploiting PayID, a free service which enables transactions using mobile numbers, email addresses, or Australian Business Numbers (ABNs).

NAB's executive of group investigations and fraud, Chris Sheehan, revealed alarming trends in the reports they are receiving.

"Scammers, recognising the potential of online marketplaces, inundate sellers, who may just be looking to offload an old fridge or TV, with a flurry of identical messages, expressing interest in buying the item via PayID," he stated. 

Sheehan added that these criminals are exploiting the novelty of PayID as a payment method, which allows immediate transfer of funds.

"They are targeting online platforms as they realise these can be an accessible avenue to defraud people," he warned. 

Highlighting the most glaring scam indicator, Sheehan cautioned against those asking for payment for PayID upgrades or access. "This is a clear red flag," he explained, "as there are no charges linked to using PayID." He emphasised that any such request is a clear indication of fraudulence.

He further clarified that PayID, managed and registered by individual banks, will never directly send emails, texts, or messages to its users. Any communication purporting to come directly from 'PayID' is a scam.

Scamwatch's data corroborates this concern, indicating that Australians lost a staggering $260,000 to PayID impersonation scams just last year.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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