What To Know About Zelle Scams And How To Spot Behavioral Red Flags From Scammers
- Scammers use Zelle and other payment appsApps Applications or Apps An application (software), commonly referred to as an ‘app’ is a program on a computer, tablet, mobile phone or device. Apps are designed for specific tasks, including checking the weather, accessing the internet, looking at photos, playing media, mobile banking, etc. Many apps can access the internet if needed and can be downloaded (used) either for a price or for free. Apps are a major point of vulnerability on all devices. Some are designed to be malicious, such as logging keystrokes or activity, and others can even transport malware. Always be careful about any app you are thinking about installing. because transactions are quick and hard to track.
- If you get scammed on Zelle, it will be difficult to get your money back.
- Use Zelle only for family and friends, and make sure to implement caution toward people you don’t know.
Scammers are now turning to peer-to-peer (P2p) payment networks like Zelle to con people out of their money
Here’s what you should know about Zelle scams, so you can protect yourself while using the payment app.
HOW ZELLE SCAMS WORK
A scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. occurs when is person or company tries to deceive you into directly giving them money or sharing personal information so they can access it.
Scammers take advantage of new payment technologies as they emerge, and scammers have now moved onto Zelle and other payment apps for three main reasons:
- Money sent through payment apps is available quickly after being sent.
- The money is difficult to get back due to regulation.
- Scammers can remain out of reach of law enforcement by setting up dummy accounts or using other tactics.
THE BIG PROBLEM – ZELLE POLICIES
Zelle works differently from other Peer to Peer (P2P) payment apps because it’s partnered with credit unions and banks. You’ll also have to use your bank’s mobile app or online banking platform to make a payment. This is both good and bad.
For many consumers, that creates an impression, incorrectly, that the same kind of protections they get for other transfers through their bank, they’re going to get on Zelle. That’s not true.
PAYMENTS ON ZELLE SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE SENDING CASH
Zelle does not offer a protection program for authorized payments. Once you authorize a payment to be sent with Zelle, you cannot cancel it if the recipient is already enrolled because money is going directly into that recipient’s bank account within minutes.
As a result, when you have fallen for a scam, the Zelle website says you must contact your financial institution.
HOW BANKS VIEW ZELLE TRANSFERS & SCAMS
Reporting fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. allows your financial institution to review your situation and freezeFreeze Trauma Freeze Response: While fight-or-flight is the better-known way humans respond to certain stressful stimuli, the additional less known third response "FREEZE", was not as widely studied until this last decade. Freezing as a response to a threat might seem effective, a sort of “playing dead” in the face of danger; however, in humans freezing manifests as an inability to communicate, react, make decisions, or take any action of self-preservation or defense. accounts if necessary. However, it’s unlikely you’ll get your money back.
We hear very often from consumers is they do the right thing — they report the crime first to their local policeLocal Police The Local Police is your first responder in most countries. In most English-speaking countries and in Europe report to them first. In other countries look for your national cybercrime police units to report scams to. In the U.S., Canada, & Australia, you must report to the local police first. to obtain a report number, then call their bank. They report it but the bank says that there’s nothing they can do. But the truth is that is not really true, they CHOOSE to do nothing.
Banks will refer to Regulation E, also known as the Electronic Funds Transfers Act, which covers customer protections regarding money transfers — but only for unauthorized transactions. If you willingly hit send, it will usually be considered an authorized transaction. You likely won’t get your money back.
If someone hacked into your account and took your money, you are protected under the law. You should report it to your bank that it was an unauthorized charge and that they should reverse it. The worst that will happen is that they will refuse to refund your money.
AVOIDING ZELLE SCAMS
4 behavioral red flags typical of Zelle scammers
Scammers may try to fool you by using skillful tactics, but be mindful of these four red flags if you’re sending money to someone you don’t know:
- A person insisting on being paid only through a payment app
- A person tries to rush you into making a quick payment
- A person telling you that your account has been hacked and you need to share information
- A bank calls you and tells you to send money through Zelle
In these situations, it’s best to pause contact or hang up the call to determine whether the information you’re receiving is correct – usually by checking with your bank on their official phone number (as for their fraud department).
ZELLE SCAMS TARGETING BANK CUSTOMERS (BANK OF AMERICA/WELLS FARGO/CITIBANK/OTHERS)
In addition to the above, there are specific scams targeting bank customers that use Selle. Here are the steps that these criminals follow to empty your bank account.
STEP 1. FAKE TEXT MESSAGES OR EMAILS FROM A BANK
Scammers impersonate banks such as the Bank of America or Wells Fargo and send you a fake “security alert” that says you’ve approved a Zelle payment. You’re instructed to reply to the message or phone the provided number if you don’t recognize the payment — which you obviously won’t because it’s fake! Sometimes the scammers will call you directly, too.
STEP 2. PHONE CALLS CLAIMING TO BE FROM YOUR BANK
On the phone call (the caller ID will be spoofed as the bank’s name), a scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. will pose as a bank employee and inform you that the email you received means your bank account has been compromised. To stop you from losing all your money, the fake employee will urge you to use Zelle to transfer all your money to your own personal Zelle account.
STEP 3. LOSING ALL YOUR MONEY
The scammers then guide you step-by-step into making a Zelle transaction — to a Zelle account you’re lead to believe is your own. However, although the Zelle account is in your name, it is actually controlled by the scammers and any money sent to this account will go straight into their pockets.
USING ZELLE SAFELY
The State of Castorina recommends Zelle should only be used for people you know and trust. If you’re using a Zelle to send money to someone you don’t know, it’s best to be cautious. Actually, you should never send ANY money to people you do not know!
Here are a few tips on how to use Zelle and other payments safely:
- Verify you have the right account
Send a small amount of money first and ask the person to make sure they received it
Use only home Wi-Fi or your cellular connection to avoid security gaps in public Wi-Fi
Be mindful of what you share on social media, so scammers don’t know details about your personal life
Sign up for alerts or multi-factor authentication for extra security
- Where to report Zelle scams
If you’ve fallen for a scam on Zelle or another payment app, always report the crime – see below.
People don’t like to admit that they’ve been a victim of these crimes because they fear they will be blamed for it. And they often blameBlame Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action. themselves. While reporting it may not result in you getting your money back, what it does is help law enforcement, identify trends, and help protect other consumers. But, without reporting it the bank will do nothing.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM ZELLE SCAMS
- Double-check the sender’s mobile number/email address. Take note of caller ID, but be aware that it can be spoofed!
- Be extra wary if a potential buyer insists on using Zelle or another online payment app.
- Turn to the bank’s official website to confirm any details regarding any security alerts.
- Click here to report a fraud or scam to Zelle.
- Think twice before you make any payments through Zelle. Zelle suggests that you only use it with friends and family to better protect against scams.
- According to Zelle, if you “authorized” a payment, you may not be able to get your money back.
- NEVER click links or attachments from unknown sources.
REPORTING ZELLE SCAMS
It’s recommended to report your scam to take the following steps:
Do the first two steps immediately, first to your local police and get a report number, then to your bank.
REPORT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
You must file a local police report on the scam/crime with your local police. Be sure to get a police report number and the name and contact information of the fraud detective assigned to the case. In most circumstances, there will be a division dedicated to reporting and investigating fraud.
Law enforcement will also report this information to your state attorney general. The state attorney general can review your report to identify illegal activity and if there is a case for prosecution and money recovery – prosecutors pay an important role in retrieving money when possible.
CONTACT YOUR BANK
The second thing to do quickly after discovering the scam is call your bank or credit union. Your financial institution can investigate the situation further and freeze bank accounts if you’ve been hacked or had unauthorized access to your account. You may also request that the money be returned. Although, it’s unlikely you’ll get your money back – but it depends on the speed of reporting and the specific circumstances.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING RESOURCES
You may refer to the following government agencies to file additional reports or learn more about your rights:
- Consumer Financial Protection BureauCFPB The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a United States government agency. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. CFPB LINK: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has educational resources on many topics involving scams. For example, you can learn about elder financial exploitation and phishing. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
- Federal Trade Commission: You should always file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. Reports are shared with 3,000 law enforcers throughout the US. Always use this link fr increased attention: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS
- FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. Internet Crime Complaint Center: The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center looks into all online crimes. You may file a complaint through the center if you or someone you know has fallen for an online scam involving certain types of transactions. www.IC3.gov or 1-800-CALL-FBI
- Federal Reserve: You can also file a complaint against your bank through the Federal Reserve. Such complaints are treated very seriously by the bank and often produce results. Visit here fore more information https://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov
Essential Tools For Every Scam SurvivorSurvivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com From SCARS Publishing
Each is based on our SCARS Team’s 32 plus years of experience.
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SCARS GREEN BOOK
Self-Help Self-Paced Recovery Program Guide
LEARN HOW TO RECOVER ON YOUR OWN
This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. or therapy, qualified support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers., or completely independent – on your own!
The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.
After the trauma of being scammed, you need to take steps to recover and move on. This may be an alternative to counseling in the short term, but we still encourage you to seek out professional help & support. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues, challenges, defects, or problems that a victim may have in a generalized way.
The SCARS GREEN BOOK will help you recover from your scam offline and it will always be there when you need it!
SCARS SLATE BOOK – Let Us Explain What Happened!
A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims
HOW TO HELP ROMANCE SCAM VICTIMS FOR FAMILIES & FRIENDS OF SCAM VICTIMS
This SCARS Publishing book represents a complete guide to help the families and friends understand how these scams work and how to help the victim.
The SCARS Slate Book should be purchased by family and friends to better understand what happened to the victim and the traumatic impact on them. But it can also be shared by the victim so that they do not have to explain to family and friends about the scam. This publication is to help others to help Scam Victims to make it through this traumatic experience and recover.
Each person is different and it is important to understand how relationship scamsRelationship Scam A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money! Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? work and why people are vulnerable; to being scammed, how they were lured in, then groomed and manipulated. This understanding is essential in helping them through the process of ending the scam and then on to recovery. The SCARS Slate Book will provide the information necessary to help support a victim through this process.
SCARS RED BOOK
Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer
ORGANIZE YOUR INFORMATION TO MAKE THE REPORTING PROCESS SIMPLE!
Helps you get and stay organized. This publication is to help Scam Victims organize their crime information. Complete this information before reporting to the police then bring this book with you
Before or after reporting to the police the RED BOOK gives you a dedicated tool to record all the essential facts of this crime. The Victim, the Scammers, the Money, and your Police interactions. Everything that really matters can be easily recorded for your immediate use and for the future!
As we have seen, money recovery/repayment programs can become available years after the scam ends and you need to keep all the details of this crime in case it is needed. We have also seen scammers being extradited to the U.S. and other countries, this will help in the event you testify or give statements, Additionally, this helps you have your information ready to qualify for victims’ benefits, compensation, or aid.
The Official SCARS RED BOOK is your way of recording all the important facts of this crime so that you do not lose essential information, Complete the RED BOOK then put it away with the confidence that you will have it if or when it is needed.
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By the Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Inc.
A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
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