Avoiding Zelle Scams: Here Are 3 Ways to Protect Your Money
Zelle is a popular digital money transfer app. Bank of America, Chase, Capital One and Wells Fargo are among the leading financial institutions that have collaborated to develop Zelle, a peer-to-peer payment service.
Free payment platforms such as Zelle allow customers to transfer money between the bank accounts of relatives and friends without having to pay fees. It charges no fees and has a network of around 1,500 banks and credit unions.
However, due to the app’s huge user base, it has become a common target for scammers and malicious actors. This year has seen an increase in complaints about peer-to-peer money transfer apps.
Thousands of Americans have lost money to fraud using the money transfer app, and millions more are at risk of losing money.
The payment service, which was developed to compete with existing electronic payment services such as PayPal, Venmo and Cash App, allows financial institutions to handle low-value electronic transactions without incurring fees from third parties.
The rise of financial fraud, scams and phishing has reached an all-time high these days, which has been brought on by the pressure of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the geopolitical conflict in Eastern Europe. .
With that, here are some recommendations from CNET and Nerdwallet on how to keep your money safe and avoid potential Zelle scams.
How to keep your money safe
Set up two-factor authentication code
Zelle users are strongly recommended to enable the two-factor authentication option.
Two-factor authentication, often referred to as multi-factor authentication, is an added layer of protection that protects your online accounts.
Each time you log into your account, you will be presented with a one-time password, which is often given via email or text message and is valid for 30-60 seconds each time.
Once you’ve enabled two-factor authentication for your financial accounts, you should never share your one-time passcodes with anyone. Never disclose your two-factor authentication code to anyone as it can become a gateway to easily steal your money.
Scammers usually trick many users by pretending to be your bank or utility provider. Scammers can easily be spotted when they pressure you with a variety of fake reasons to give them your password.
Legitimate banking authorities will not request users’ private credentials apart from public credentials. It is important to note that you are reminded never to disclose your two-factor authentication code to anyone.
Beware of unsolicited text messages, emails and links
Scam tactics can now be done in many ways online. Another highly recommended device to protect your money is to ignore suspicious unsolicited text messages and emails. Another advises you never to easily click on links because they could be used by scammers to steal your money.
This advice applies to all potential scammers, not just those using the Zelle payment system. Unless you have spoken to them first, do not respond to a phone message from your associates claiming to be a representative or employee of your bank.
Call your banking institution directly to inquire about your account and any security vulnerabilities that may be present.
Assuming there are no problems with your account, you can also notify your bank that you have been the victim of identity theft. If you provided personal information as a result of the phishing attempt, you can work with your bank to ensure your account is protected.
Read also: New ‘Black Basta’ Ransomware Gang Emerges – Here’s How to Fight Them
Use Zelle for family and friends only
Zelle is another digital finance app in the market that aims to help people make their financial transactions easier. However, due to the alarmingly increasing rate of scams, it is now recommended that you only use this and other money transfer apps to pay people you already know and trust.
Since Zelle in its nature is a peer-to-peer application, once you have made a transaction on the platform, it is now gone and will hardly be returned once sent.
If you make a payment through the app and are tricked into authorizing the payment, you may not be able to get back the money you paid. Although it is a convenient and easy payment method, limiting its use to people you know and trust will reduce your chances of becoming a victim of fraud in the future.
When using multi-factor authentication, app users are strongly advised to use the phone number and email address they have registered when sending money to money transfer apps help.
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