Online banking and money transfer apps can make our lives easier. However, those conveniences can pose some serious potential risks. For instance, when using Zelle to send money, watch out for the latest, most common scams:
Scammers may try to impersonate your financial institution via email or text and then ask you to use a link to provide account information. To protect yourself from being scammed, never click any links or provide any sensitive data. The same type of scammers may also impersonate Zelle, asking you for your account information. Don’t do it.
Another scam is to target online purchases, intercepting the transaction, collecting your money and robbing you of your purchase. The best way to avoid this scam is to stick with in-person purchases when using Zelle. Small business owners, who are also targets, should be careful or they could be robbed of products or services or be overcharged as well.
If you are contacted by “someone you know” who needs money urgently, don’t do it. This could be a message from a scammer who hacked your contacts. If a recording, a fake voice or someone you don’t know asks you for a payment for goods, services or a debt collection, don’t do it. If you are told that you have won a prize and you need to call a number or click a link to provide your personal information to collect, don’t do it. There are even “catfishers” out there who try to swindle people out of money with the promise of romance.
To be safe, you should only use Zelle or similar services to send money to people you know and trust; and while credit unions typically provide protection for large transfers, it is better to only use Zelle for small transactions.