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Trending payment scam and how to protect yourself

In this month’s cyber-security minute, we hone in on a trending payment scam which uses Zelle.  You may be familiar with Zelle; however, if you’re not, it’s an app, used by most banks, to send or receive money with people you know and trust.

How does it work? 

  • You receive a text message that looks like a fraud alert from your bank about unusual activity. The text may look something like “Did you make a purchase of $100.00 at ABC merchant?”.
  • If you respond to the text, you have now engaged the scammer and will receive a call from a number that appears to be from a bank.
  • They’ll appear to be a representative from a bank and will offer to help stop the alleged fraud by asking you to send money to yourself with Zelle.
  • The scammer will ask you for a one-time code you just received from a bank.
  • If you give them the code, they will use it to enroll their bank account with Zelle using your email or phone number.
  • The scammer now has the ability to receive your money into their account.

Quick tips to protect yourself:

  • Don’t trust caller ID, it’s not always who it says it is.
  • Don’t share codes based on a call you receive.
  • Don’t be pressured to act immediately.
  • Banks recommend using Zelle to send money only to those you know.
  • Finally, remember that this is only one example of many scams that use similar strategies, please keep your eyes and ears open.