February 27, 2023
Kellie M. Spawton
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payment apps such as Zelle®, Venmo, PayPal & Cash App are more popular than ever. Protecting yourself is more important than ever!
Here are 10 Do’s and Don’ts to keep yourself, and your money, safe:
- Don’t send money to someone you don’t know or have never met in person.
- Don’t share bank authentication or verification numbers (codes that have been sent to you by the bank), or your personal information, which anyone who contacts you, even if the Caller ID indicates it’s a familiar company. Keep your account usernames and passwords, Social Security Number, and bank account, debit, and credit card information to yourself. If you feel pressured to give out any of this information, hang up and contact your bank directly using the number on the back of your card or on your bank statements.
- Don’t let strangers persuade you into sending money to yourself or anyone else.
- Don’t let people you don’t know borrow your phone – they may log into a P2P app and send money to themselves.
- Don’t do a Google search for customer service phone numbers. Scammers have created fake websites with toll free numbers that connect to them.
- Do be sure to know and trust the other party who’s receiving your money. Confirm the name, email, phone number, or other identifier when you send money. If you make a mistake, even one wrong digit, you will send your money to someone else who may not give it back. Just like handing someone cash, the bank cannot get that money back for you.
- Do set up alerts to notify your of any transaction on your account.
- Do enable multi-factor authentication – an extra step to verify who you are – for all accounts, and do not share verification codes with anyone.
- Do ensure that your apps, especially financial apps, are updated so they are secure.
- Do be wary of accessing any financial or personal information on public Wi-Fi or mobile hotspots. These often lack security, and hackers can steal your information on these open servers.
If you have been scammed using a P2P app, or in any other way, here are some steps to take:
- Contact the P2P payment platform
- Contact your bank
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, by going to www.ftc.gov
If you authorized a payment mistakenly, there may not be much that can be done to get your money back. But reporting the information can help prevent it from happening again. And by knowing some of the tricks that scammers use to get you to send them money, you may be able to avoid problems in the future.
Zelle® and the Zelle® related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC.