I hate scammers with a passion. The things I say to them when they call me on the phone simply cannot be broadcast, and when they are such a huge organisation they have the means to not just come up with new scam ideas, but execute them on a grand scale. That’s what’s happening right now on Facebook Marketplace with what we can only describe as the “PayID scam”.

First reported earlier this year, it seems to have picked up steam in recent weeks with sellers on Facebook Marketplace overwhelmed with “messenger” messages from what at first appear to be potential buyers, but then begin to attempt an elaborate scam.

Thanks to my keen eyed mate Stace who received said messages recently, we can now unpack exactly how it works, step by step, so you can help yourself, and others identify these scammers as they happen.

Firstly, like with all good items up for sale on Facebook, you’ll get the obligatory “Is this still available” type message.

Of course! Yes, and a nice “heart” acknowledgment from the “buyer”

Then we move into the logistics, no negotiation – let’s make this happen. And the “buyer” seeks PayID info. This is great because it quickly identifies who knows what PayID is and who doesn’t, and im guessing the buyer will explain it if they dont.

What is PayID?

Before we go on, let’s acknowledge and make very very clear, PayID is a legitimate form of payment, and was setup by a group including the big banks (the people behind bPay) under the name “OSKO”. It’s an instant payment system between banks, so if I make a payment to your bank account and both our banks are OSKO compatible, the payment is cleared and available instantly!

To send an OSKO payment you can just use a BSB and Account number, but its easier if you use another identifier, like a phone number or email. These are the most common.

That identifier is your “PayID” and it means you can say to someone “just send it to my PayID which is my mobile 04XX XXX XXX” and boom, you get the cash.

So.. Back to the nasty stuff.

Back to the scammer

Stace hands over his mobile, and then all is good.

But wait, there appears to be a hiccup.

Buyer asks Seller “did you get a notification from PayID?”

Here’s where the scam gets nice and elaborate, using the mobile number or email that was handed over as the PayID, the scammers then send an SMS or email from “PayID” which request approval for the payment.

This should be the first red flag because PayID does NOT in fact send these messages.

But, we’re going with it – so “Yes”

Almost instantly, a much longer message is sent.

Here’s the full text of this message which is “From” “PayID”

Dear Customer, You have received a payment of ($40.00AUD), But we have a problem crediting your account. Your payment of ($40.00AUD) is pending as the status of your account limit being limited and is not a business limit user or Merchant limit, This will not make us credit your account until the limit gets (switched) to a business account limit or merchant limit which gives your account large features and unlimited access to any amount. Take this urgent steps to expand your account to a business(merchant) account limit.     Contact the buyer to send in an additional payment of ($400.00AUD) to your account so it can be expanded to a business account limit or Merchant limit, As soon as it verified your account will be fully credit with the sum of ($440.00AUD) and upgraded immediately.. Note: An alert has been sent to the buyer in regard of the additional payment of ($400.00 AUD) he/she has to send to you, We will secure this transaction with high priority that neither the payer and the payee will lose their money in this transaction because it a business transaction

Wait – what?

So, you want the Seller to now tell the buyer to send $400 MORE than the item i was selling, and when they do, it will automatically trigger this “upgrade” and the money will flow through.

The onus though would be on you to send back the $400, and you’re a good person, so of course you will.

Knowing you’ve received this, “buyer” is back in touch:

Stace is having nothing of it – rightly so.

Buyer is happy to send the extra $400 – for a $40 set of drawers – sure.

The buyer is also now in the mode of trying to convince Stace to pay and not use cash. It’s to prevent scams after all!

Working on the Assumption Stace is still on the hook here, Buyer has “sent” the $400, so now sends their Australian Bank Account details for the “repayment” of the money.

But hang on, why would you send them money if you don’t know you’ve received it.

No problem, SCAMMER has you covered, here’s a copy of THEIR bank statement showing the additional payment.

Another problem here, “Stace” is not the full name used on the PayID system.

You’ll know if you’ve used PayID that when you put in the number or PayID of someone else, it shows their name before you submit. In Stace’s case, the name on the bank account is difference.

Silly scammers.

So, crisis averted, but how many people are falling for this?

People do. And People will.

So share this with your friends, let’s educate people, and knock them out of business

And if you’re a victim of this scam or have seen it, particularly if you see actual Aussie bank details in a message thread, REPORT IT to ScamWatch – there’s a chance they’ll involve the police who can use that BSB and Account number to try and track these scammers down!

All in good time.

The REAL bottom line – if you’re selling something, you NEVER need to send money. Check YOUR Bank app not trusting someone elses screenshots, and frankly, meet in a public place and accept cash!