3 Things To Know About Rampant Zelle Bank Transfer Scam: How To Protect Yourself

3 Things To Know About Rampant Zelle Bank Transfer Scam: How To Protect Yourself


3 Things To Know About Rampant Zelle Bank Transfer Scam: How To Protect Yourself Image credit: kentoh / iStock, https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kentoh?mediatype=photography

A new scam targeting Zelle users shows how easy it is for hackers to steal your money using quick mobile banking payment apps. Customers have reported losing thousands of dollars in seconds on Zelle-supported banking apps.

It starts with an innocent-looking text warning about fraud in your bank account, then a conniving phone call.

Zelle is a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service used by many financial institutions that allows customers to quickly send cash to friends and family, even if they bank at different banks.

Reports of the scam are on the rise. Imposters claiming to be from a financial institution like Bank of America call random victims saying someone is trying to hack their accounts.

Darlene Chelsey and Nausheen Brooks said they lost $3,500 each to scammers after transferring money to themselves through Zelle on Bank of America’s app.

“I sent it to myself so it should go to me, but clearly it didn’t go to me,“ Brook told ABC Chicago.

She said she got a phone call designed to look and sound like a real Bank of America phone number. The fraudsters used the same hold music as Bank of America, but it was not the bank.

“These attackers gain the victim’s trust. They know that they are talking to the bank because it shows on the mobile phone that they are being called from the bank’s number,” said Bogdan Bodezatu, director of threat research at Bit Defender.

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Here are 3 things to know about the Zelle bank transfer scam and how to protect yourself:

1. Do not give out your authentication codes

Brooks said she was tricked into giving out her authentication codes from her texts, which allowed the swindlers to access her account on a new device.

Both Zelle and Bank of America sent a statement reminding clients that they should not provide confidential account information to unidentified people. They also said that legitimate companies would not ask for passcodes or authentication codes.

2. Zelle is safe if you are sending money to people you know and trust

Zelle was created by banks to be a safe platform since it uses data encryption which gives users increased protection.

It claims to be safer than Venmo and Cash App in terms of privacy because it is harder for scammers to access users’ personal information, according to Nishank Khanna, chief marketing officer at Clarify Capital.

Zelle advises that you should only use the service to pay people you know and trust, since it does not offer fraud protection for authorized payments.

3. Hang up and call the bank directly

Scammers are exploiting Zelle because the app is automatically connected to millions of bank accounts.

If you get a call claiming to be from your bank, it is always better to hang up and call your bank yourself to make sure you are talking to the real bank, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“I want other people to be aware. Never take a call from a bank. Call them yourself. Hang up,” said Chelsey.

Keep your data and personal information secure, make your passwords unique and strong, and no matter how complex your password is, you should never re-use it because it is possible all your accounts will be compromised through the common password.

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