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Why so many people are falling for Zelle scams, and how to protect yourself – Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida 2022-05-11 06:00:33 –

Recently, the free payment app Zelle has been talked about, all for the wrong reason. Every week, it seems that new reports of someone who has been scammed from thousands of dollars come.

And now Congress is starting to ask questions. This is because Zelle is an easy way to send money and at the same time a scammer is an easy way to steal your money.

Victims after the victims shared their story

The story of Megamma Kudonald is sadly all familiar. She received an urgent text that appeared to come from the bank.

“Someone contacted me from Wells Fargo’s phone number. They were representatives of Wells Fargo and aged me that there was a fraud in my bank account,” she said.

In a hurry, she gave her account information to a kind person who thought she was a customer service agent.

But it was a scammer, and within minutes he sent $ 3.000 from her checking account through a Zelle transfer.

Last year, Catina Brown was the victim of a text message that looked like it was from a bank, claiming that her account was locked due to fraud.

When she sent back a text message, she remembered, “Did I try to give someone $ 5,000? I said no.”

So she gave her an account number to prevent fraudulent transfers, and the thief immediately sent $ 1,000 from her checking account before she realized what was going on.

Damon Lander was another victim, who didn’t even know what Zel was when he was called about a bank account problem.

As soon as he provided his account information, he said, “They changed my username, password, card PIN and set up a Zelle account.”

After that, thousands of dollars were sent immediately.

Why is this happening so much?

Zelle is run by a major bank and is actually very safe from hacking.

So if you can’t hack, why are hundreds of banking customers losing money in the Zelle scam?

Sarah Wetzel of Better Business Bureau says that in almost all cases, customers are confident that they will provide their personal account information to fraudsters over the phone.

“The services themselves aren’t bad. It’s a shame that scammers are using these services to use consumers,” she said.

According to Wetzell, scammers find peer-to-peer payment services like Zelle (and similar Venmo) useful.

But they also know that unlike credit cards, which can stop fraudulent payments, there is little fraud prevention.

She tells you to pay attention to these warning signs:

  • The person who contacts you about your bank account problem is aggressive or offensive.
  • They claim that there is no solution to the problem other than following their instructions.
  • For text or email, the message has a grammatical error.

Zelle’s big risk is the lack of protection in the event of fraud.

“These peer-to-peer payment services do not incur consumer losses,” she said. “If you get scammed from money, it’s unlikely you’ll get it back.”

Two U.S. Senators of the Senate Banking Commission, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bob Menendez of New Jersey recently asked the seven banks that own Zelle to work harder to prevent the scam and help thousands of people in the last few years. I did.

Zelle has not commented on their request.

So how do you prevent this from happening?

  • Use the money transfer app only with acquaintances.
  • Never discuss your account number, PIN, or other personal information with your contacts.
  • If someone who claims to have a problem with your account needs your account information, look up your bank’s phone number and call.
  • Do not call text, email, or voice email numbers. You may connect with a scammer.

When you call the bank, you may be told that nothing is wrong. That way, you won’t be fooled by Zelle scams or wasted money.

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