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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 14, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , ,   

    Is Zelle issuing refunds to scam victims? 

    By Greg Collier

    Since this past June, thousands of banks that use the Zelle payment app have been issuing refunds. Why are these banks issuing refunds? For at least the past two years, Zelle has been a boon to scammers. Zelle has been instrumental in allowing scammers to take money from their victims.

    Primarily, Zelle is used in bank impersonation scams. They start out when a victim receives a text message that appears to have come from their bank. The message asks the victim if they recently made a large purchase or transfer and to reply with yes or no. Once the victim replies, the scammers call the victim while posing as the bank’s fraud department. The victim is told their bank account has been compromised, and they need to move their money to a safe account to protect it. The scammers walk the victim through instructions on how to transfer the money to the safe account on Zelle. Then the victim unknowingly transfers their money to the scammer’s account.

    The banks that implement Zelle have been hesitant to issue any refunds to customers. They typically claim that since the customer authorized the payment, there are no grounds for a refund. The banks also claim if they start issuing refunds, then scammers will try to work their way into the refund process.

    In that vein, Zelle has been pretty quiet about how consumers can go about requesting a refund. Nor has it given any indications on any kind of timeline for refunds or whether refunds can be requested retroactively. However, in their defense, Zelle has enacted new prompts within the app that are supposed to warn users if the app feels like the user is making a risky transfer. Zelle claims this has significantly cut down on scams.

    But the best way to protect yourself is to not take the scammer’s bait. Your bank will never tell you that you need to move your money to protect it. That’s just not a thing. If you receive a text message or phone call that claims to be coming from your bank, do not respond. Instead, call your bank at the customer service number from your debit or credit card, and they’ll be able to advise you on if there is anything wrong with your account. And also keep in mind that Zelle is only supposed to be used between friends and family. Anyone else who is asking for payment through Zelle could be trying to scam you.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bank scam, fraud department, ,   

    Elaborate bank scam wipes out life savings 

    By Greg Collier

    One of the more common scams lately is the bank impersonation scam. This scam can start out with either a text message or a phone call. In either case, the scammers are posing as your bank’s fraud department. They tell you that there’s been fraudulent activity on your account, or your account has been hacked. You’re then instructed you need to move your money to protect it. This typically results in the scammers having you send them your entire bank account through electronic means like payment apps or cryptocurrency, or through more manual means like gift cards or wire transfers. Usually, these scams take less than a day to occur and sometimes can happen in just minutes. However, one bank scam strung a victim along for a month.

    A woman from Wisconsin lost her life savings of $200,000 to scammers like this. They initially made contact with their victim by posing as Wells Fargo’s fraud department. They called her and told her that her identity had been stolen. The victim even says there were unusual transactions she didn’t recognize on her bank account.

    Then she was transferred to someone who claimed to be a federal agent for the Federal Trade Commission. That person had a lot of personal information about the victim, including her Social Security number, former addresses, and where the victim attended college. They even sent her copies of the supposed agent’s badge and ID card.

    The scammers told the victim to close all of her financial accounts in order to open new accounts with a new Social Security number. Or in other words, they wanted her to move her money. The victim sent the scammers her money through money transfers, gift cards, and cryptocurrency. All the while, they were sending her certified letters that appeared to come from an attorney, which lent legitimacy to the scam.

    Another tactic scammers like this use is threatening their victim with arrest, which was also done here. The scammers told the woman if she didn’t comply, she would be arrested for money laundering.

    As always with scams like this, if you receive a call from your bank about fraudulent activity or identity theft, hang up. Then manually call the bank at their correct customer service number, which can be found on their website or on the back of your debit card.

    It’s also recommended if you receive a phone call like this to reach out to family and friends to get their feedback.

    Also, please keep in mind that if your identity is stolen or your bank account is hacked, no one is going to call you. To the banks, they consider it the customer’s responsibility to report any unauthorized transactions. And moving your money, or paying yourself to protect it is not a real procedure.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 13, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , ,   

    New bank scam has scammers collecting your debit card 

    New bank scam has scammers collecting your debit card

    By Greg Collier

    Bank impersonation scams are nothing new. The typical banking scam starts off with a text message asking if you have made a large purchase or transfer. The text message asks you to reply with either a yes or a no. Once the victim replies ‘no’, they’ll receive a phone call from the scammers, posing as their bank’s fraud department. The victim will be told there is fraudulent activity in their bank account, and they need to ‘move’ their money to protect it. From here, the scammers walk the victim through moving their money to a supposed protected account. However, this account belongs to the scammers, who disappear with the victim’s money.

    In that version of the scam, the scammers have the victim move their money electronically. Now, a new scam has developed, where the scammers are physically collecting their bounty. This new scam starts out the same way with the text message and the phone call. Instead of being told to move their money, victims are now being told that a courier will be by to pick up their compromised debit card. Some victims were even told to leave their debit cards in their mailbox for the courier to pick up. From there, the scammers take the victim’s money from nearby ATMs.

    Thankfully, the ways to protect yourself are still the same. If you receive a text message claiming to be from your bank, do not respond to it. Instead, call the bank directly to see if there is an actual issue with your account. If someone calls you claiming to be from your bank, politely end the conversation, and again, call your bank directly to ask about any issues. Lastly, don’t give any personal information to a caller claiming to be from the bank. Your bank should have all the information they need and shouldn’t be requesting information like your PIN or account number.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 7, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , ,   

    Scammers easily avoid Zelle warning 

    Scammers easily avoid Zelle warning

    By Greg Collier

    In the news article we read about the latest chapter in the Zelle scam, it says that the Zelle scam is back. To be honest, it never went away. For almost two years, we’ve been documenting how the personal payment app has been used by scammers to defraud victims out of their money. As far as we know, there has been no break in this scam’s activity.

    For the uninitiated, the Zelle scam works like this. The victim receives a text message inquiring whether they have recently made a substantial purchase or transfer. The victim is instructed to reply with a simple yes or no. After the response, scammers follow up with a phone call, pretending to represent the victim’s bank’s fraud department. The fraudsters then urge the victim to safeguard their bank account by either transferring their funds or using Zelle to “pay themselves.” However, what actually happens is that the scammers are guiding the victim through the process of transferring funds to the scammers’ account through Zelle.

    Since these scams have started, it doesn’t appear as Zelle has done much in the way of consumer protection. If you do make a money transfer using Zelle, a warning does appear, which advises users not to send money to anyone they don’t know personally. Yet, the scam persists. So, what clever trick have the scammers devised to circumvent this warning? Is it nefarious malware that suppresses the warning? Not exactly. The scammers are simply telling their victims to ignore the warning. That’s it.

    Now, keep in mind the scammers are posing as the victim’s bank, who are supposed to have the final authority on a customer’s account. I’m sure we’ve all had to follow instructions at one point where we told to just ignore something. To us, this exhibits the poor protection Zelle has for its users, rather than any fault of the victim.

    It’s important to note that Zelle is intended for use strictly among friends and family, those you have a personal relationship with. Be cautious of any unfamiliar business or individual requesting payment through Zelle, as this could be a potential scam attempt. Remember, your bank will never ask you to move your funds using Zelle.

    If you find yourself falling victim to this scam, your initial step should be to promptly file a police report. While it doesn’t guarantee a refund, taking this action can significantly aid your situation. Moreover, if you believe your bank is not treating you fairly, don’t hesitate to reach out to a consumer advocate reporter in your local area for assistance. Their involvement can provide you with the support you need.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , , ,   

    Do banks only help scam victims when the news gets involved? 

    Do banks only help scam victims when the news gets involved?

    By Greg Collier

    When we started posting about Zelle scams is when we first discovered how unhelpful banks can be when it comes to those who fell victim to these scams. Scammers will walk the victim through the Zelle app to have them transfer money to the scammers under false pretenses. Since the victim made the actual transaction, many banks will tell the victim they can’t get their money back. To the bank, or so they claim, the transaction looks authentic to them, so they can’t issue a refund to the victim.

    However, occasionally, victims will have their money returned to them after they tell their story to their local media. This typically involves the victim going to their local TV news consumer reporter. In turn, the reporter asks the bank for comment, which more often than not results in the bank issuing a refund.

    For example, a Massachusetts woman recently fell for a scam which resulted in her bank account being emptied by scammers. She received a call from scammers who were posing as PayPal to tell her there was in issue with her account. The scammers sent her a link to click on, and when she did, scammers took control of her phone. Before she knew it, $3500 was gone from her bank account.

    Her bank allegedly denied her claim until her local news station got involved. The bank reportedly claimed they reversed their decision after their decision after the victim provided additional information.

    But are these bank refunds a result of the plane crash principle? The principle says that we only hear about the planes that crash, but we don’t hear about the vast majority of planes that continually land safely.

    Are banks issuing refunds to scam victims without the media getting involved? We’d like to think they are, but somehow, we doubt it. As someone once told us, banks are in the business of making money, not issuing refunds. Not to mention, if banks started issuing refunds on demand to scam victims, it won’t be long before scammers start claiming they’ve been the victims of scams.

    The banks need to implement better initiatives to protect their customers from scammers. Education has not been enough, as scammers often intimidate their victims into ignoring the education. If just one major bank came forward with a new program to protect their customers from scammers, we’re sure it would not only be great PR for them, but they would probably attract many new customers.

    However, it will most likely be a long time before that happens. In the meantime, we need to look out for ourselves. If you receive a phone call from any company related to money, like PayPal, Zelle, Venmo, or even your own bank, hang up, and call them back at the company’s official customer service number. You can find these numbers, if the company has one, on their website under the contact section.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bank scam, , ,   

    Like we need another bank scam 

    By Greg Collier

    We’re pretty sure it goes without saying that bank customers are one of the largest targets of scammers. If we’re not being assailed by text messages telling us to protect hacked accounts through Zelle, our debit card information is being stolen through skimmers, or people are trying to get us to deposit phony checks. Now, bank scammers are pulling an old scheme which seems almost antiquated by today’s standards.

    According to a report out of Florida, several residents have received robocalls from scammers posing as banks. And we say banks, we mean a few different banks. At one point, a potential victim could receive a robocall that says it’s from Bank of America, while getting one shortly later that says they’re from Wells Fargo. However, both robocalls say the same thing.

    The robocalls will tell you a purchase you made with your debit card has been declined, and your card has been blocked. The message also provides a customer service number for the recipient to call. The customer service number leads to a scam call center, where the scammers will attempt to obtain not only your financial information but, possibly, your money as well.

    If you were to get one of these robocalls, and it says it’s from Bank of America, and you actually bank at Bank of America, that’s a coincidence. That also goes for most of the major banks. Scammers will set out the widest net possible in order to catch as many potential victims as they can.

    If you receive one of these robocalls, do not call the number they leave. Instead, call your bank’s customer service number from the back of your debit card. If you were to call the scammers’ number, they would only need a little bit of information or a touch of misdirection before they could empty your account and disappear into the wind.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 9, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bank scam, , , , ,   

    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 5, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bank scam, ,   

    Bank to scam victims: You have to prove it wasn’t you 

    Bank to scam victims: You have to prove it wasn't you

    By Greg Collier

    Previously, we told you about a scam that happens at ATMs. The way we were told about is scammers put glue in the card slot of ATMs. The bank customer would then use the tap to pay feature on the ATM. The tap feature on the ATM uses the RFID chip in the card to verify the transaction. If an ATM has an RFID reader placed near it, scammers would be able to steal the card’s details and duplicate the card.

    That is definitely one version of the scam. However, there’s an even simpler version of the scam. In this version, the scammer still puts glue in the ATM’s card slot. Except, instead of using an RFID reader, the scammer hangs around the ATM acting as a good Samaritan. When a customer tries to use the ATM, the scammer will tell the customer to use the tap feature. The problem with the tap feature on some ATMs is that it doesn’t automatically sign the customer out when the transaction is finished. This allows the scammer to use the ATM while the customer is still logged in. Of course, this has resulted in many having their bank accounts emptied.

    If you’ve been a frequent reader here, you won’t be surprised to learn that one of the nation’s leading banks is allegedly refusing to assist scam victims. Chase Bank has had a number of their customers fall victim to this scam, and much like they did with the Zelle scam, Chase is reportedly putting the onus on the customers.

    When Chase looks at their records, they only see it as a customer transaction and have told scam victims that the victim must have taken the money. One customer was even told, “Well, you have to prove it wasn’t you.”

    You might assume that since ATMs have cameras, Chase could easily verify if the customer made the transaction. According to one customer, they were told that Chase cannot pull the footage unless they’re subpoenaed by law enforcement.

    But also, much like the Zelle scam, Chase refunded the scam victims once their local media got involved.

    If you go to an ATM and the card reader is not functional, consider going into the bank or trying another ATM situated elsewhere. Additionally, if you possess a credit card, it might be a wise decision to utilize that instead. This is because credit cards have a built-in safety measure that aids in preventing such fraudulent activities. Moreover, credit cards provide more consumer protection than debit cards.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 5, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bank scam, , ,   

    Zelle refunding scam victims, but won’t say which ones 

    Zelle refunding scam victims, but won't say which ones

    By Greg Collier

    The Zelle payment app has been popular with scammers for the past year and a half now. If you’re unfamiliar with the app, it’s a personal payment app. It’s supposed to allow you to make payments to friends and family instantly. However, scammers have used it to have their victims direct money to scammers’ bank accounts. Zelle is owned by a group of some of the nation’s leading banks, and in the past, these banks have been hesitant to refund scam victims. Now, Zelle is seemingly saying they’re going to be refusing scam victims, but are being vague about the details.

    But first, let’s look into how Zelle scams work. The most prolific of these scams is the bank impersonation scam. In this fraudulent scheme, the target receives a text message inquiring whether they have recently made a substantial purchase or transfer. The recipient is instructed to reply with a simple yes or no. After the response, scammers follow up with a phone call, pretending to represent the victim’s bank’s fraud department. The fraudsters then urge the victim to safeguard their bank account by either transferring their funds or using Zelle to “pay themselves.” However, what actually happens is that the scammers are guiding the victim through the process of transferring funds to them via Zelle.

    Zelle can also be used in almost any scam where money is involved, such as phony landlords, and scammers who pose as police threatening victims with arrest. A good rule to follow to protect yourself from these scam is to only use it to send money to someone you know personally. Even then, you should make sure that person requested money from you.

    Getting back to the refunds, Zelle’s parent company recently released a statement saying they were going to, “mandate consumer reimbursement for certain types of scams.” But that’s basically all the information they’ve released. Now, it’s understandable that Zelle would want to keep the details quiet to keep scammers from finding out, but once refunds start happening, people are going to know. We believe that Zelle should be more transparent to keep its users and scam victims better informed. To keep the process secret, it seems like Zelle has something to hide.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , bank scam, RFID,   

    A new scam at the ATM 

    A new scam at the ATM

    By Greg Collier

    Previously, if someone was going to be scammed at an ATM, it was typically done through ATM skimmers. These were devices that could be placed in the card slot of an ATM, which would read the details from the magnetic strip of a debit card. ATM users still have to worry about this scam, but skimmers can often be detected by pulling on the ATM’s card slot to see if it comes out. However, there’s a new scam going around where the device used to scan your card is not so noticeable.

    In most modern debit and credit cards, there is an RFID chip. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. This allows card users to use the ‘tap to pay’ feature at many stores in ATMs. We’re going to focus on debit cards, as credit cards have some protection built-in to prevent this scam. If someone were to go to an ATM and find the card reader blocked or inoperable, they might be directed to use the tap feature on the ATM. If a user did this at a targeted ATM, an RFID reader would be able to obtain the details from the debit card. This would allow scammers to duplicate the card and empty the bank account attached to it.

    Unfortunately, these RFID devices can be well hidden and virtually unnoticeable. However, there are ways to try to protect yourself from this scam. When at the ATM, avoid using the tap feature. If the card reader has been disabled, go inside the bank or use a different ATM at another location. If you have one, think about using a credit card ATM instead. As we mentioned, credit cards have a safeguard that helps prevent this scam. Not only that, but credit cards themselves offer more consumer protection than a debit card.

    If someone were to fall victim to this scam with their debit card, the bank would not offer a refund. As we’ve seen with most bank scams, the banks view these as legitimate transactions.

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