Money Wiring Scams – How Scammers Use Zelle to Drain Bank Accounts.


  • 27% of U.S consumers would rather make purchases with their smart phone versus traditional methods, such as, via cash, credit, or debit card. ~Alexander Kunst
  • A 2020 NerdWallet survey identified Millennials as the group most likely to use mobile payments apps. 94% of Millennials surveyed indicated that they regularly use mobile payment apps.
  • Zelle is the leading platform for mobile Peer to Peer (P2P) payments in the U.S. ~Raynor de Best

Mobile payment solutions such as Zelle, CashApp, and Venmo, are fast and simple tools that people can use to send money to friends, family, and merchants. Gone are the days where friends and associates would struggle to split a bill with each other because no one had change! While the aforementioned apps are extremely convenient, and allow money to be sent and received in minutes to days, scammers are now targeting mobile payment users. The speed and convenience of sending and receiving money through these apps facilitate these digital platforms, making them the perfect targets for scammers.

The video below, courtesy of NBC News, provides a detailed overview of how scammers utilized Zelle to con victims out of their hard-earned money.

How Scammers Are Using This Popular Banking Service to Drain Your Bank Account | NBC Nightly News

As mentioned in our earlier post, titled “Hackers Targeting Mobile Banking Apps – What You Need to Know!,” the following tips can be used to protect yourself from the dangers associated with mobile banking:

  1. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). While this methodology is not perfect, it does add an additional layer of complexity to the situation, making it significantly difficult for the cybercriminal to compromise your bank account. Using options, such as, verifying your biometric data, requiring a code that is generated by a hardware token, or utilizing an authentication app, are great alternatives to relying solely on SMS based verification.
  2. Use a Strong Password. Banking accounts serve as a lucrative target for cybercriminal and should always have a strong password associated with them! The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends that your password should be 15 characters or longer. Avoid the use of common passwords, such as, “Password1234567” and reusing passwords, since these are typical vectors exploited by malicious cyber actors.
  3. When in doubt, call your bank! If you encounter a suspicious app, phishing email, or something just does not feel right, notify your bank by calling the number on the back of your banking card. Remember, a financial institution will never ask for your username and password to verify your identity!

While the digital platforms used for mobile banking are relatively safe and secure, there will always be some level of risk associated with making payments online; especially, when humans can be compromised via social engineering. Hopefully, you will never experience being a victim of mobile payment scams. If you are interested in learning about additional safeguards that you can take to secure your financial data, be sure to Contact us and we will be glad to assist you! As always, make sure to subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date with our latest content and tips!

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