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Real Stories - Zelle scam

Real Stories - Zelle scam

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Fraudsters posing as a bank employee to solicit money.

Jim Smith received a text asking if he had approved a Zelle transaction to "Heather" for $3,500. He replied, "No."

Soon after, he received a "spoofed" call from his bank. Meaning the caller deliberately falsified the information transmitted to Jim's caller ID display.

Jim said the woman on the other line told her that someone was withdrawing money in his name, and he needed to quickly send funds back into her account through Zelle to stop it.

The scammer then instructed Jim to begin the transfer by typing his first and last name in the "Add Recipient" field and leaving the field for his email or phone number blank.

Once the transfer was processed, Jim received a notification from Zelle that "Jim Smith" was now a recipient. He also received text notifications that looked legitimate.

"JIM SMITH sent you $1,000.00 with Zelle. To accept your money, visit: Reply STOP to end msgs or HELP for help," the text read.

The imposters, however, created a Zelle account in his name and used it to receive those funds.

When Jim checked his bank account, only $6 was left.

"The money is gone. Gone. It just disappeared," he said.

Look out for these red flags:

  • The person contacting you about a problem with your bank account is pushy or aggressive.
  • They insist there's no other way to fix the problem then following their instructions.
  • If it is a text or email, their message has grammatical errors.

How to prevent this type of fraud:

  • Only use money transfer apps with people you know.
  • Never discuss account numbers, PINs, or other personal information with anyone who contacts you.
  • If the person claiming a problem with your account needs your account info, look up your credit union or bank's phone number yourself and call them.
  • Don't call the number in the text, email, or voice mail, as it will connect you with the scammers.
  • Chances are that when you call your bank or credit union, they will say there is nothing wrong, and that way you don't fall for the Zelle scam, and you don't waste your money.

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