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Avoid Fraud While Using Mobile Payment Apps

Mobile payment apps like CashApp, Venmo, and Zelle are increasingly popular for transferring money to friends and even making payments. They’re a great way to send money quickly (or instantly!) without the need for cash.

But are these apps safe to use? You’re aware that fraud happens, and you’ve read articles about how people get scammed. You think that it won’t ever happen to you – until it does. Unfortunately, scams aren’t always obvious.

It’s important to remember that when you’re sending money – whether you’re using an app or money wiring service – to be sure you know who’s on the receiving end. Otherwise, you might lose the money you sent and put yourself at risk of losing more.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid being scammed:

  • Never send money to someone you don’t know. If you’re purchasing through a site like Etsy, eBay or Amazon, there are usually payment methods already set up for you to utilize. Beware of sellers asking you to transfer the money through another channel.
  • If you get an unexpected cash request from someone – even if you think it’s someone you know – reach out personally to ask what it’s for. Scammers may use a phone number or username that is one digit/letter different than your friends to trick you. 
  • Many apps will ask permission to access information on your device – like your contacts – to make payments easier. If this kind of information sharing makes you uncomfortable, see if it’s possible to use the app without allowing such access. You can also try a different app that meets your needs.
  • Check your bank account regularly. Make sure that transfers are being completed as you expected and for the correct amounts. If you see suspicious activity – even for small dollar amounts – contact your bank and the mobile payment service you’re using. Sometimes scammers will “test” your card or account with a small dollar amount before trying to access a larger amount.

We are always here to answer your financial questions. If you think you’re being scammed, click here to see the resources we offer. Our fraud team is often aware of trending scams and can help you avoid being the victim of fraud.

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