Money transfer apps such as Cash App, Zelle®, and Apple Cash are peer-to-peer payment services that provide a convenient way to send and receive money instantly through a mobile device. These apps have become very popular, especially during the pandemic. Scammers have figured out a way to steal money and gain access to accounts using apps such as Zelle. However, being aware of the scams and knowing the ways to avoid them, you could protect yourself from being a victim.
How money transfer app scams work.
A scammer appearing to be a financial institution or legitimate company through spoofing contacts you by text, email, phone, or social media about a transaction or discrepancy on your account.
Once you respond to the message, the scammer then calls you claiming to help you resolve your account's issue. The call may even appear to be from your financial institution, spoofing the financial institution’s phone number.
The scammer may then ask for your Online and Mobile Banking login credentials, such as your username and password to verify your identity. (AllSouth will never ask for your username or password for Online and Mobile Banking. Do not give this information out.)
The scammer may ask to remotely access your device. A legitimate company will never request for you to change the security setting on your device allowing them remote access.
Then the scammer will ask for a passcode or verification text or email that is sent to you. Once you receive the passcode via text or email, they request you provide the passcode. At this point, the scammer logs in to your account and transfers money out of your accounts.
Payments from money transfer apps, such as Zelle, are instant and usually difficult to cancel when the transaction occurs, making it easy for the scammer to get away with the crime.
Ways to avoid money transfer app scams.
Don't provide your personal information including Online Banking login information such as usernames, passwords, and text verifications.
Never send money to a customer service representative/employee or provide your PIN or sign-in code with anyone on the phone.
Avoid responding to or clicking on links in a text message or email, especially the ones claiming you've won a prize, and to redeem the prize, you must send money.
Hang up if someone calls you claiming to be your financial institution or another business. After you hang up, call the company or your financial institution directly using the telephone number on your account statement or official website.
Send money only to people you trust, and make sure you verify the recipient's information before sending payment to confirm you're sending it to the right person.
Verify, verify and verify.
What to do if you are a victim.
Change your passwords and login information immediately.
Check your account online and contact your financial institution immediately if you discover any discrepancies on your account.
Always trust your gut! If something doesn't seem quite right or seems to good to be true, it probably is. The more you're aware of the scams, the better you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.