How to Protect Yourself from Zelle Scams

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Mobile payment technology allows you to quickly and easily transfer money to friends or pay businesses via a mobile application. The popularity of these apps, whether it be Zelle, Cashapp, or Venmo, makes them an attractive target for scams, with criminals looking to cash in.

The use of money apps and other contactless money transactions only accelerated during the COVID pandemic. Their speed, security, and accessibility maintain their popularity. In fact, mobile payment is likely to be the preferred form of payment moving forward. A report from Juniper Research concludes that global contactless transaction values will triple from $2 trillion in 2020 to $6 trillion by 2024.

While mobile payments protect your money in a number of ways, there are security concerns to be aware of. Scammers will use many tactics to gain access to your personal information and money. Below, we will give you some tips and tricks to recognize scams and avoid phishing attempts.

Common Zelle, Cashapp, and Venmo Scams & How to Avoid Them

Fake Prizes, Rewards, & Giveaways

Beware of unsolicited emails or text messages claiming you have won money or prizes. These messages typically include a link asking you to sign into your account or enter information about your account. These scams are trying to get into your Zelle, Venmo or Cashapp account. Once they’re in, your money will go out.

To avoid this scam: Never enter log-in information outside of the app or official webpage.

Phishing Phone Callsphishing zelle scams image

Fake phone calls may come from scammers pretending to be customer service or tech support. They may ask for a verification code, a payment, or say you need to log into an account they have created for you.

To avoid this scam: Never provide verification codes or log-in details. Reputable money app companies will never ask you to send money to verify an account, install a third-party app, create an account on your behalf, or require payment for technical support.

Buying & Selling Scams

Online buyers can be scammed by paying for an item that is never provided. Scammers may send fake screenshots showing that an item was delivered. They may also ask you not to mark a payment as a purchase to qualify for Purchase Protection.

Sellers should be aware of fake screenshots confirming payment. Scammers may also tell you that you will receive payment once their item has shipped and that you will need to upload shipping information, this is a red flag.

To avoid this scam: Only exchange payments with people you trust. It is good practice to exchange money and the item you are selling or buying at the same time, in person, and in a public location. It is best to purchase from approved business accounts or mark the payment as a purchase when paying a personal profile.

Impersonation Scams

Scammers can change their username and profile picture to impersonate someone you know and request money. Be cautious if the request is unusual or includes high-pressure tactics to force payment.

To avoid this scam: Always double-check that requests are coming from a legitimate source before accepting the payment request.

Payment “Error” Scams

If you receive an unexpected payment from a stranger and they request the money to be sent back, it is likely a scam. Scammers use stolen credit cards or bank account information to transfer money to you and when the theft is reported, the money is removed from your account. The money you sent to them will not be returned.

To avoid this scam: You can refund or reverse the payment (the process will differ from app to app) but do not create a new payment. It is also recommended to report unauthorized payments and to block users that send unsolicited payments or requests.

Big Money Scams

Offers to increase your money often ask for a small payment in order to receive a large amount in return. These types of scams can be called pyramid schemes, money circles, cash flipping, or cash wheels.

To avoid this scam: If someone promises to increase your money, there is a good chance it is a scam. Keep your transactions between people or accounts that you trust.

Paper Check Scams

Scammers offer to send you a check and ask for a mobile payment in return. Typically, the check will clear when you cash it, then bounce, causing you to repay your bank and lose the payment you sent in return.

To avoid this scam: Never accept a check in exchange for a mobile payment.

Romance ScamsZelle Romance Scams Image

Scammers may fake a romantic interest to build a relationship with you. Once they gain your trust, they make an emotional plea to trick you into sending money.

To avoid this scam: Never loan money to people you do not know. These kinds of scams can open you up to bank scams and wire fraud.

Deposit Scams

Scammers may ask for a deposit on a home rental or pet purchase to secure the item. If they offer photos, but won’t communicate in person or over the phone, use caution.

To avoid this scam: Always verify the legitimacy of what the person is offering. Never send money to someone who is promising to deliver you something at a later date, especially if you don’t know the person.

How to Protect Your Money from Zelle, Cashapp, and Venmo Scams

Money apps simplify our payment options. They are instant and accessible to anyone with a smartphone. For the most part, they are secure, quick, and dependable. Most apps include data encryption, account monitoring, and other security precautions to keep you safe, but scammers can still take advantage.

The following precautions are a good rule of thumb to protect your money while using mobile payment apps:

  • Only transfer money with people you know and trust.
  • Never give out login information or verification codes.
  • Do not click on links in unsolicited messages.
  • If a request seems unusual or “too good to be true,” verify the information before moving forward.
  • Keep your transactions private.

Protect Your Data with Record Nations

Record Nations is here to protect your data from scams, fraud, and theft. We offer smart business solutions to protect all kinds of digital information. From secure cloud storage to electronic media destruction services, we have you covered.

Give us a call at (866) 385-3706 or fill out the form to connect with a provider near you. We can help you select data protection services and send you free quotes in just minutes.