"Sorry, I don't have any cash. Can you spot me, man?" is so early 2000's.
With the introduction of peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, friends and family can no longer use the excuse of being cashless to avoid repaying borrowed funds or receiving goods without paying for them in full. Logix members use P2P payment apps like Venmo, Paypal, and Zelle®, which allow users to send and receive cash instantly using their linked bank accounts.
But whenever money changes hands, you can be sure a scammer is hoping to get in on the action. So, stay alert to the below crazy schemes designed to steal money from any of your preferred payment platforms or methods.
"We're just glad someone can use them."
Your favorite band is getting back together and you can't find tickets anywhere. As luck would have it, you come across an online post from someone who needs to sell their tickets in a hurry to pay for a family emergency. They're offering the tickets 50% off as long as they go to another superfan. And, guess what? They accept all digital payment services.
While it's okay to pay for items using these apps, be cautious against sending money to anyone you do not know or trust. Just like cash, once you give someone the money, i.e., authorize the transaction, you won't be able to recover it. Make sure you have the tickets, or any purchased item, in hand before sending payment.
"It's the government calling. Pay today - or else."
In almost every situation, you'll receive a letter via U.S. Mail if you owe the government money. The first communication is unlikely to be a phone call requesting payment via P2P services. Especially since no legitimate federal agency accepts payment via a P2P app.
When you question the caller about payment, they'll often resort to scare tactics. The most popular one is a threat of jail time if you don't pay right away. Hang up and contact the federal agency directly using the phone number on their official website. Confirm whether you owe money and report suspicious calls to the Federal Trade Commission.
"Hi, it's me."
Scammers who gain access to your mobile contacts will pretend to be someone you know and trust. They'll often claim they're in jail, stranded, or experiencing another fake emergency. Always speak to your friend or relative by phone at a known number before sending money, even if you've sent them money before.
"Here's your phone back."
Uh-oh, you forgot to disable the automatic app login on your phone. If someone has access to your mobile device, they could use it to make a payment to themselves or to another account without your permission. Unlike the other scenarios, since you did not authorize the transaction, this activity is considered fraud and you’re more likely to get your money back.
"It needs a safe and loving home."
You don't have to look far to find cute photos of puppies online. While these adorable images steal your heart, scammers hope to steal your money. Thieves will post fake pictures of dogs they've never owned along with a sad story about its background.
All you need to do is fork over $500 - $1,000 using your P2P app to cover the cost of the pet, vet fees, insurance, and a few basic new puppy supplies. These scams are so sophisticated that some even have legitimate looking websites and live "customer service agents". Unfortunately, after victims pay the fee, they never receive their fur babies.
"We need your verification code to validate a recent transaction."
Scammers love to do impersonations. Tech savvy thieves will manipulate your caller ID to display the telephone number of a trusted business or institution. This is known as spoofing.
These bad actors will pretend that they're a credit union employee calling to verify a recent P2P transaction. All they need is your verification code that's sent to your phone after you log into the app. Don't fall for it. Hang up and report the incident by contacting the credit union at the phone number listed on their website.
Remember these additional tips when using P2P apps:
- Take a few minutes to verify the recipient's information before making a payment. This could help you avoid sending money to the wrong person.
- Never send or accept P2P payments with people you don't know. It could be step one of a scam.
- Create a complex password and change it every few months to help keep your account safe.
You don't need to fear using P2P apps. Treat these transactions like cash, and you can enjoy the convenience of using digital payments while keeping scammers at bay.
*Logix Federal Credit Union is not affiliated with any of the external sources referenced in this article, and is a separate entity.
Please contact Logix at (800) 328-5328 or visit www.lfcu.com if you have any questions about this topic or would like to consider opening an account.