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  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 9, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bank of America, , , , , ,   

    No change in Zelle scam with scammers or banks 

    No change in Zelle scam with scammers or banks

    By Greg Collier

    In a few months, it will be two years since we first started posting stories about the Zelle scam. Since it’s been a while since we’ve posted about it last, let’s have a quick refresher.

    Zelle is a personal payment app whose parent company is co-owned by several of the nation’s biggest banks. Some of these banks include, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and US Bank, just to name a few. Often, these big banks will have the Zelle service baked in to that bank’s phone app. Many customers of these banks don’t even realize they have Zelle on their devices.

    Zelle is designed to be used between friends and family, much like Venmo and Cash App. However, also like Venmo and Cash App, Zelle also has its fair share of scammers.

    Another problem with the Zelle scam is the banks that use Zelle are very hesitant to offer refunds to the victims of scams. The banks state since the customer authorized the transaction, even under false pretenses, the transaction is considered legitimate. Some banks have only offered refunds after the victim has taken their story to their local media.

    Here is an example of how the scam works. Recently, a man from North Carolina received a text message asking him if he made a $7500 Zelle transfer to a person he didn’t know. The text appeared to come from his bank, Bank of America. The text message said to reply yes or no to the text message. The man sent a text reply of ‘no’, but it wouldn’t have mattered how he replied, since he was actually texting with scammers.

    After he sent his reply, he received a phone call that looked like it was coming from B of A, complete with the caller ID showing the B of A customer service number. The number was spoofed by the scammers, which is an easy thing for them to do. The scammers were posing as customer service agents from B of A. They gave the man instructions on how to protect his money from the fraudulent transaction, but what they were really doing was walking him through the steps to send money to the scammers. In his case, it was $1500. The man claims when he inquired with B of A, they allegedly told him it was his responsibility.

    Anytime you receive a notification that looks like it came from your bank asking you about a transaction or telling you your account is at risk, do not reply. Instead, call your bank’s customer service department directly to verify if there is an actual problem with your account.

    If you’ve fallen victim to this scam, contact police immediately. While it’s not a guarantee of getting your money back, it does go a long way in helping. Lastly, if your bank is refusing a refund, think about going to your local media with your story, as we have seen some successes after victims have done that.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 17, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bank of America, , , , , ,   

    Victim sues banks for failing to prevent $500K loss 

    Victim sues banks for failing to prevent $500K loss

    By Greg Collier

    A 74-year-old woman from Hilton Head, South Carolina, is suing three major financial institutions for allegedly failing to prevent large transactions of hers being used in a months long scam. But before we get to that, please read how scammers tormented this poor woman.

    It started out when she received an email that appeared to come from PayPal. In actuality, it was a phishing email which said her account had been hacked. The email also offered customer service software that could prevent her account from being hacked. The software was actually malware that allowed scammers to take control of her computer.

    This allowed the scammers to access her bank accounts and take thousands of dollars from her. They also convinced her to withdrawal large sums of money and convert it to cryptocurrency to send them. This occurred through most of 2022.

    The victim’s son received a surprise anonymous text where he was warned by scammers that the last of his mother’s money was about to be stolen. It seems even scammers can have a change of heart. The son even received texts about how much information they had on his mother, including logins for close to a dozen of the woman’s online accounts.

    Her son then went out and bought her a new phone with a new number, and it wasn’t long before the scammers started contacting her through the new phone.

    The woman is now suing PayPal, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo for not better protecting consumers. The suit alleges all three corporations “failed to take corrective actions” while the fraud took place, which included large in-person transactions. According to the suit, the large transactions were never questioned.

    What do you think? Are the banks partially responsible for not putting a stop to these transactions? Or is the elderly woman just an unfortunate victim?

    Since this all started with the victim downloading malware from an email, it’s a good time to remind our readers not to click on any suspicious links from emails, even if they’re from a company you do business with regularly. That email may not actually be from that business. Instead, login directly into your account and address any issues from there.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 11, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bank of America, , , ,   

    Never hand over your phone for candy 

    Never hand over your phone for candy

    By Greg Collier

    A woman from New York City thought she was being charitable when she handed her phone to a pair of teens who said they were selling candy. Like many of us, the woman said she had no cash on her. Also, the woman didn’t want any candy, but the teens said she could make a donation if she wanted to through payment apps Zelle or Venmo. The woman used Zelle on a regular basis and wanted to make a small donation.

    In order to send someone money on Zelle, you need to know their email address or phone number. The woman asked the teens for a phone number to send the money to, but the teens said they’ll enter the number on the woman’s phone for her. The phone was handed to the teens who entered the phone number on the Zelle app and the woman made a five dollar donation and thought nothing of it. That was until she went to the grocery store and discovered her bank account was empty. Before giving the woman back her phone, the teens sent $1800 from the woman’s account to the phone number they entered.

    There’s another variation of this scam we’ve discussed before. Typically, it involves the scammer claiming they’re in some kind of situation where they need to make a phone call, but their phone is dead. The scammers often claim their car has broken down, but there are other situations they use in this scam. Once the victim hands over the phone to the scammer, the scammer will open up one of the victim’s payment or banking apps and send the victim’s money to another account. The scam has often been called the Good Samaritan scam.

    Getting back to today’s scam, it turns out the whole incident was caught on the security camera footage at the coffee shop where the woman was approached. The victim thought she wouldn’t have any issue getting her money back from her bank since she had proof she was scammed. However, like with most victims who have been scammed through Zelle, Bank of America allegedly refused reimbursement, since to them, it appeared like the victim had authorized the transaction. Also, like many Zelle scam victims, B of A said they would reopen the investigation after the victim took her story to local media.

    To better protect yourself from a scam like this, try to avoid handing your phone over to strangers, and especially don’t hand them the phone while one of your financial apps is open. Please keep in mind that apps like Zelle and Venmo are only supposed to be used between family and friends. If your phone has a fingerprint reader, consider using that to secure your payment apps on your phone, or at least use a PIN.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bank of America, , ,   

    Never send cash through the mail for any reason 

    Never send cash through the mail for any reason

    By Greg Collier

    Many of us probably got a delivery from Amazon in the past week or so. These deliveries will no doubt bring joy to our loved ones for the holidays. One Florida woman was almost not so lucky, as scammers posing as Amazon tried to bamboozle her in a convoluted scam.

    First, she received a phone call from someone claiming to be from Amazon. They told her a $1500 item was being shipped out under her account. She probably told the fake Amazon rep that she didn’t order anything. She was then transferred to someone posing as an agent of the Federal Trade Commission, complete with badge number. That person transferred her to another person posing as her bank, in this case, Bank of America.

    The woman was then told by the phony bank rep that her identity has been compromised, but the only way to clear it up was to hire a lawyer or pay the bank $15,000. They told her if she didn’t comply, she would be arrested. If she told anyone what was happening, the scammers said they would be arrested too.

    She was told to mail boxes of cash, but after she made a second withdrawal, the scammers told her that they needed to her to buy stuff for them. Thankfully, she realized it was a scam at this point, and she did not lend up losing any money. But look how close she came.

    While the scammers in this case tipped their hand, there are some classic tenets of scams in this one. The first one if the call from Amazon. Amazon rarely ever calls their customers. If you’ve ever received a legitimate call from Amazon, that’s winning the lottery type odds. The second is threatening someone with arrest if they don’t comply with the scammers demands. Normally, this is done when scammers pose as police, but police don’t threaten arrest for payment over the phone and neither do banks. If a business were to threaten a customer with arrest, that would be a PR disaster for that business. They also tried to keep the victim from talking to anyone else. This is usually seen in grandparent scam when phony police say there’s a gag order against you. That’s not how gag orders work. They only apply to when a case is in the process of going to trial. They can’t just be ordered against random citizens.

    Mailing a box of cash is also an old way that scammers try to collect money from their victims. There is no legitimate reason to send large amounts of cash through the mail. No law enforcement agency or legitimate business will ask you to send them cash through the mail.

    Video: Jupiter woman nearly loses thousands in scam, but recognizes red flags

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Victim loses $40K in bank scam 

    By Greg Collier

    A man from the Central Valley region of California recently lost close to $40,000 in a bank scam. As far as we can tell, Zelle wasn’t even used, which is a rarity these days. The man received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the fraud department at Bank of America. The caller is said to have told the man that there were fraudulent transactions on his account. But before the ‘fraud department’ could help him, they said they needed the man to give them a six-digit code they were sending to him, so he could verify his identity.

    The man gave the caller the code, and we’ll get to the importance of that in just a bit. The caller then told the man that since there was fraudulent activity on his account, they needed to shut down the online banking option on his account. The caller was actually a scammer who drained the man’s account of nearly $40,000 with several transactions.

    The most disturbing part of this scam is that the scammer already had the victim’s personal information. The victim didn’t have to give the caller any information, as the scammer was able to give the man’s personal information to him. The scammer even disabled the notifications the man should have received when the scammer started taking large amounts out of the man’s account.

    So how was the scammer able to access the man’s bank account? The news article doesn’t go into detail about that. However, if we were to hazard a guess, it seems like the scammer already had all the information needed to access the man’s account. The information could have been obtained through any number of data breaches that have happened in the past few years.

    The only thing the scammer really needed to access the account was the authorization code. Many banks require their customers secure their account using a two-factor authentication code. So even if someone tries to log in to a bank account with the username and password, they’ll still need the 2FA code that’s typically sent to the customer’s text messages. Once the scammer was able to obtain that code, they had complete access to the man’s bank account.

    Anytime you receive a phone call from your bank, especially about fraudulent activity, hang up and call the bank back using the number on the back of your debit card. Scammers almost always spoof the number they’re calling from. Also, never give anyone any authorization code over the phone. These codes aren’t just used for banking, either, as many online accounts can be hijacked if someone were to give this number out.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bank of America, , ,   

    Teen saving for fishing boat falls for Zelle scam 

    Teen saving for fishing boat falls for Zelle scam

    By Greg Collier

    Once again, scammers show they don’t care who their victims are. While we often hear about elderly victims who fall prey to scams, they happen to younger people as well. Some experts have even said that younger generations fall victim to scams just as much as the older ones. Whether it’s a lack of experience, or an unwillingness to come forward, younger adults are losing just as much as their older counterparts. However, when the discussion turns to teenagers, that’s a demographic that scammers are always willing to capitalize on.

    A 14-year-old boy from New Jersey and some of his friends were trying to save money so they could buy a fishing boat together. The teen decided to sell a computer he had on Facebook Marketplace. He listed the computer for $500 and found someone who said they were willing to buy it. The buyer offered to pay the teen through Zelle.

    For those who may be unfamiliar with Zelle, it’s a personal payment app that’s co-owned by a number of the larger banks in the U.S. Zelle is only supposed to be used to send payments to friends and family, but scammers have been using it to cheat their victims out of money.

    In this case, the scammer sent the teen an email that looked like it came from Zelle saying the $500 payment couldn’t be received because of a limit on the teen’s bank account. He was then instructed to send $500 to the buyer that was supposedly going to be returned to the teen. Then the teenager got two more emails that appeared to come from Zelle that requested two more fee payments of $200 and $400. The teen made the payments before realizing he was being scammed.

    The teen’s father called the bank’s fraud department, who were able to prevent the $200 and $400 payments from going through, but the $500 payment was already gone. The bank said that could not get it back. Undaunted, the teen wrote a letter to the CEO of Bank of America, one of Zelle’s co-owners, for assistance. It wasn’t until the teen talked to local media before he was able to get his money back.

    Unfortunately, the teen’s story is more the exception than the rule. In most cases, Zelle scam victims never get their money back. The Zelle service offers little in the way of protection to scam victims, In most cases, the banks say since the victim authorized the payment, even if it was by deception, they couldn’t refund the money.

    Zelle isn’t the only app that scammers use. Venmo and Cash App have also been pretty popular with scammers, but Zelle seems to rule the roost lately when it comes to payment scams. With many of the banks that use Zelle unwilling to help most scam victims, it’s become a favored tool in the scammer’s arsenal. The best way to protect yourself from the Zelle scam is to not pay anyone through Zelle that you don’t know personally. No legitimate company or government agency will ask you to pay through Zelle. If you’re selling items online, it’s in your best interest not to accept Zelle payments. There’s a greater chance you’ll be scammed than actually getting paid.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bank of America, , , , , ,   

    Is Zelle siding with scammers? 

    Is Zelle siding with scammers?

    By Greg Collier

    As we’re sure you’re well aware of, Zelle is a money transfer app that’s co-owned by several large banks in America. Its primary purpose is to transfer money between friends and family directly from your bank account. The most popular example given about these apps is splitting the check at a restaurant. Rather than several different people pulling cash out of their pocket, they can instead just send their portion of the bill to one person who picks up the tab. However, since it involves sending money online, scammers are using every opportunity to use Zelle, so they can steal from their victims. The banks that own Zelle aren’t helping matters either, since they tend to tell scam victims that their money is lost forever, even if the bank is the one who noticed the scam.

    A woman in New Jersey recently fell for a rental scam. She was sending money to a phony landlord for a rental property the landlord didn’t own. At first, she was asked to send a $160 through Zelle for an application fee to someone with a Wells Fargo bank account. She was then asked to send $1000 through Zelle, to the same person as a deposit. The scammer then asked her to send $1000 as another deposit and an additional $1000 as first month’s rent. This time, the money was sent to two different Zelle users, the first one mentioned and a new one with a Chase bank account. Again, all done through Zelle.

    When sending the last $1000 through Zelle, the woman’s phone locked up, and she wasn’t sure if the payment went through. The fake landlord told her to call her bank to resolve the issue. When she called her bank, Bank of America, they notified her that this was a scam. The bank representative put in a request to have the payments stopped. The woman then did the proper thing and notified both the police and the FBI. Six weeks later, Bank of America denied the request, allegedly claiming that Chase and Wells Fargo did not want to give the money back.

    All three of the banks mentioned in this post are co-owners of Zelle. Since they all share a payment transfer system, you might think that there’s a way to get money back from scammers. Instead, the banks claim that since sending money through Zelle is like sending cash, users should be careful who they send money to. No refund was offered to the victim by any of the three banks.

    While it is true that apps like Zelle should only be used between family and friends, why are the banks so reluctant to help scam victims? The bad press they’ve been receiving over Zelle can’t be helping, so why not put in protections that help the users instead of the scammers? The more these scams get reported on, the less Zelle will end up being used. So, which one would be more costly to the banks, helping scam victims, or shuttering Zelle?

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bank of America, , , , , , ,   

    Zelle scam keeps making victims out of bank customers 

    By Greg Collier

    Reports are still coming in about the scam that uses the Zelle payment app to drain victims’ bank accounts. In case you’ve missed our previous posts about the scam, scammers are posing as nationwide banks while sending text messages to victims asking them if they’ve made a large purchase. When the victim replies back, they’re then called by the scammers posing as the bank’s fraud department. The scammers tell the victim that someone is fraudulently using their account. The victim is then instructed to make a transfer through Zelle to ‘protect’ their account. Instead, the scammers are directing the money to their own accounts.

    Bank of America has taken the brunt of the criticism in this story, since it seems mostly B of A customers who have been affected. The bank has been seemingly resistant to either issue refunds or recover their customers’ money. Many times they’ve only done so after scam victims have contacted their local media. The scam has become so prevalent across the country that even the New York media is warning consumers about the scam.

    However, it’s not just Bank of America that is seeing their customers get taken for a ride. A number of Chase Bank customers have also reported falling victim to the scam. Recently, an Ohio woman lost $13,000 to the scam, and she was a Chase customer. As of the time of this writing, Chase has not commented on whether or not the woman will be getting her money back.

    The company that runs Zelle is jointly owned by is owned by Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, Navy Federal Credit Union, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, Ally, US Bank, and Wells Fargo. There are other banks that also use Zelle even though they don’t hold ownership in it.

    If your bank uses Zelle and you receive one of these scam texts, do not reply to it. Instead, call your bank’s customer service number from the back of your debit or credit card. That way, you know you’re talking to a legitimate customer service representative. They’ll be able to tell you if there is any real fraudulent activity on your account.

  • Geebo 8:01 am on October 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bank of America, , , ,   

    Zelle scam victims may be entitled to get their money back 

    Zelle scam victims may be entitled to get their money back

    By Greg Collier

    The Zelle scam has been finding a lot of victims around the country. We originally posted about it here. The scam is largely affecting Bank of America customers, although we’ve also seen it affect Chase customers. In theory, it could affect any bank’s customers whether that bank uses The payment app or not.

    The scam works with the scammers posing as a bank. In this case, Bank of America, mostly. The scammers will text countless people at random. They only need to have a handful of people to fall victim to the scam to make it profitable. The text message will appear to have come from B of A asking if you’ve made a substantially large purchase lately. Within the text, you’ll be asked to reply ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if you made such a purchase. If someone replies to the text, the text is followed up by a phone call from someone posing as a customer service rep from the bank telling you that someone has accessed your account. The victim will be then instructed to move the money in their account to a ‘safe place’ through Zelle, with the claim that this will keep their money safe. What’s really going on is that you’re transferring your money to a scammer’s account, and they make off with your money.

    For the most part, victims can’t get their money back. Zelle offers no protections for this, and the banks usually tell scam victims that there’s nothing they can do. Sometimes victims do get their money back after speaking with their local media. However, it seems more like the banks are doing this for PR reasons rather than any kind of responsibility to the customer.

    That may be changing, as a little-known federal law known as Regulation E states that banks are supposed to refund customers if the customer is the victim of a fraudulent transaction on their account. That includes when a third party tricks a victim into sharing account information. However, it does not protect the customer if the customer uses Zelle knowingly to buy something online and never receives that purchase. But for this scam, victims should be able to get refunds, theoretically. Whether the banks will try to prevent these refunds remains to be seen.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bank of America, , , , , ,   

    Text message scams using big name companies 

    Text message scams using big name companies

    By Greg Collier

    We think it’s safe to assume that many mobile phone users would prefer to receive a text message than a phone call. Text message are just so much more convenient than stopping whatever you’re doing to take a call. Except, not every type of communication can be done through text messaging. For example, if you needed any kind of customer service, it would be painstakingly long to do that through text. That’s not even taking into account that text messages have become yet another domain where scammers thrive. Scammers love the anonymity that text messaging allows. This lets them pose as just about anyone, and lately, they’ve been posing as some of the best known companies in the country. We’ve recently read reports that say there a two text message-based scams that happening all over the country.

    The first text message scam we heard about recently is offering COVID-19-based discounts to customers of Verizon, one of the nation’s largest phone providers. Here is an example of what the text message says…

    “COVID-19 REFUND. VERIZON COMPANY is giving out $950 to all users of our Verizon service, If yes kindly text your Verizon.”

    As you can see, the text message isn’t very well written, which is a great indicator that the text message is a scam. The messages also contain a link that you shouldn’t click on as it could do untold damage to your device, or ask you for personal information you shouldn’t be sharing. Not only are scammers posing as Verizon, but they’ve also been posing as Netflix and Hulu, among other companies. As much as we’d like them to be, these companies aren’t in business by giving away money to their millions of customers.

    The other texting scam involves large national banks Chase and Bank of America. In this scam, victims have been receiving texts that say something along the lines of…

    Chase Bank Fraud. Did you attempt $5,000 Zelle-transfer? Reply yes/no/help.


    “Bank of America fraud alert. Did you just attempt a Zelle transaction of $3,500? Please reply yes or no.”

    Most people would probably text no back to the sender. However, the senders are just scammers who are fishing for your banking information. Once someone replies to the text, it’s followed up with a phone call from a scammer posing as bank customer service. The scammers will then walk you through a process on Zelle that allows them access to your bank account. Before you know it, it’s been cleared out. What makes this scam so problematic is that banks do sometimes text their customers to let them know if there has been fraudulent activity on their account. In this case, it’s always best to call the customer service number on your debit card than responding to the text.

    A good way to protect yourself from such scams is to verify any text you receive about money with a phone call. Even if it’s from people you know because any phone number can be spoofed.

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