Money transfers apps, such as Zelle, Venmo, or CashApp, make paying back friends and family quick and simple. However, since these apps transfer funds instantly, it makes them a preferred payment method for scammers. That's why you should always verify the identity of anyone requesting payment through one of these apps.
Here are a few more guidelines that may help prevent you from being tricked into sending funds to a fraudster:
• Never send funds to yourself through a money transfer app. If a caller (who’s impersonating a bank official) tells you that fraud has occurred on your account and the only way to get the money back is to send funds to yourself, don’t do it. This is a technique that scammers use to get your personal information and steal your funds. Although your name is in the “to” and “from” sections, scammers have been able to divert funds when you hit “send” to another bank.
• Never read back verification codes to someone requesting them. A phone call requesting these codes should alert you that the person you’re dealing with is a scammer.
• Beware of fake emails. These apps will never email you or call you to request money. Fraudsters may try to trick you into clicking on a phishing email. Look out for emails with poor grammar or spelling errors and hover over a sender’s email address to make sure it’s not phony.
• Do not provide confidential account information to unidentified individuals. Legitimate companies would not ask a customer to transfer funds between accounts nor request sensitive account information such as an account number, Social Security number, or Tax ID over a text, an email, or a digital message.
• Do not send funds in response to phone calls or text messages you weren’t expecting. Remember that Caller ID and phone calls from numbers you recognize could be spoofed to appear to be from legitimate callers. Verify a caller or emailer’s identity through a company’s website if possible. Don’t send funds to anyone whose identity you cannot verify.
• Use money transfer apps only to send funds to people and companies you know. Keep in mind that sending funds via a money transfer app is like sending cash.
• Use multi-factor authentication and PIN numbers on apps that offer them. Each layer of security that’s offered helps prevent fraud.