Consumers using the Zelle payment platform are now being targeted by a new scam that’s rapidly spreading across the US, which is giving criminals access to their bank accounts.
The scam, which has gained momentum since the start of the year, has so far managed to steal thousands of dollars from unsuspecting bank customers.
Zelle is a popular payment system with millions of customers. Payments work in a similar way to Venmo and other payment platforms. Users can transfer money to their friends and family through the platform, which is linked to their bank accounts.
However, millions of consumers are targeted in scams using money transfer apps. Venmo is no expectation – and it can be very difficult for customers to get their money back.
Security experts have warned that scammers are using Zelle to gain access to people’s bank accounts and steal their money, usually using a claim that they are protecting them from fraud.
People targeted by this scam receive a text or email, appearing to be from their bank, saying that someone has attempted to make a transaction on Zelle.
Then, the target gets a phone call from the scammer, pretending to be from the victim’s bank, saying they are trying to protect them from a fraudulent transaction.
The customer will then receive instructions on how to prevent the transaction, but this means they reveal their bank account information and the scammer uses this to gain access to their bank account and withdraw funds.
It’s difficult for some consumers to get their back from this scam as Zelle claims it’s not responsible for funds held in bank accounts – it’s a third-party money transfer service. If the victim authorized a transaction, it’s not considered to be fraud.
“Even if you were tricked or persuaded into authorizing a payment for a good or service someone said they were going to provide, but they didn’t fulfill it, this would be considered a scam,” Zelle says on its website. “Because you authorized the payment, you may not be able to get your money back.”