The Pennsylvania State Police recently announced a warning concerning scams involving peer-to-peer payment applications or apps including Zelle, Venmo, and Cashapp.

Pennsylvania State Police are aware of the scam that specifically involves Zelle. Zelle is a service offered by many financial institutions through the mobile app that allows people to send money to customers of other banks.

This scam involves the fraudster sending text messages claiming to be from a bank’s fraud department stating that the victim had a suspicious payment through Zelle and asks the victim to verify the transfer.

If the victim responds to the text, the fraudster calls the victim claiming to be from the bank’s fraud department and asks for the victim’s username to verify their identity.

The fraudster will then ask for more information including notifying that the victim will receive a one time code to their personal phone and a possible notification from Zelle about a transfer that has just occurred or has in the past.

These are legitimately from the bank and from Zelle, but the fraudster knows about them and will tell the victim to expect them and then will ask the victim to verify this.

In reality the fraudster is walking the victim through the process of resetting the victims account password which once reset the fraudster can empty the victim’s bank account in a matter of minutes.

Pennsylvania State Police have made the following recommendations in order to avoid this scam:

  • Become familiar with your peer-to-peer payment apps policies related to fraud protection.
  • Learn how to use your institutions mobile app and disable features you do not intend to use. Someone at your financial institution will assist with this if needed.
  • Learn to recognize your financial institution’s fraud notifications and what to do if you should receive one.
  • Read the text messages closely and ignore those from institutions where you do not have an account or that do not make sense.
  • If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be from your financial institution, hang up the call and call the financial institution back at a phone number that you know is valid. You can find these numbers on their mobile apps or online.
  • Keep confidential any log in names, passwords, one time codes, or other authentication information that is confidential and never shared with anyone including anyone from your financial institution. No one from your financial institution will ever ask you for your log in information.

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If you are to fall victim of one of these scams, please contact your local police department.