February 22, 2023
Kellie M. Spawton
Cash Transfer Apps, like Paypal®, Zelle®, Venmo, and Cash App, are known to banks as Peer to Peer, or P2P, apps. These apps are, for the most part, very safe. But just like with any payment method, it’s important to be careful with your personal information, and your money. At OceanFirst, we want to help you and your money stay safe.
Criminals may try to scam you into sending money using these apps. Why? Because the money transfer is almost instantaneous, and once sent, it is extremely difficult to get your money back.
This can take a few different forms, but the key is that someone is paying you more money than you asked for. You may be selling an item online. The scammer may “accidentally” send you too much money, either via a P2P payment or even by check. Then they ask you to return the extra funds by P2P transfer. The P2P payment you received never actually came in; they sent you a fake notification. And if the overpayment was in the form of a check, that check is counterfeit.
Scammers may call or text you pretending to be your Bank. They may alert you to “suspicious activity” on your account, and will advise you to send money to yourself or to the “bank’s address” to reverse a transaction or to verify that the account is not frozen. Your bank will never tell you to send money to anyone, not even yourself. When you send that money, you’re actually sending it to an imposter.
If you’re selling something online, and instead of a payment confirmation, you receive a notification from the app, telling you that you need to upgrade your P2P account, which of course requires payment. The scammer offers to send you the funds again, but you won’t receive the second payment until you send the scammer a refund. The email notification from the app is fake. P2P apps won’t require you to upgrade your account in order to receive a payment.
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 the OceanFirst Customer Care Center at 1-888-623-2698
- 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.