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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , ,   

    New twist on banking text scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Since this past October, we’ve been warning our readers about the Zelle scam. This is when scammers pose as your bank’s customer service department and try to tell you that there’s been fraudulent activity on your bank account. The scammers will then instruct you to move your money through the payment app Zelle to protect your money from bad actors. What they’re really doing is directing you to move your money from your bank account to the scammer’s account.

    The Zelle scam starts when the victim receives a text message asking them if they recently made a substantial payment or purchase. The text asks you if you made this transaction and asks you to text back a response of yes or no. If you respond to the text either way, the scammers will call you, posing as your bank. Now, a new banking text scam has appeared that shares aspects of the Zelle scam but doesn’t use Zelle.

    In Pennsylvania, bank customers there have received texts informing them that a new payee has been added to their account. That is supposed to mean that someone has been added to the account who can withdraw money. The link contains a text to click on if you did not add this payee to your account. The report doesn’t state where the link takes you, but usually in these scams, they either take you to a fake banking site that tries to steal your information, or a site that will inject malware or spyware on to your device.

    If you ever receive a text that appears to come from your bank about fraudulent activity, do not respond to it, and don’t click any attached links. Instead, call the customer service number on the back of your debit card, or drop by your local branch during business hours.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , ,   

    Victim loses $25K in Zelle scam 

    By Greg Collier

    It’s been a few weeks since we last talked about the Zelle scam. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the scam has stopped. For those who may need a reminder, scammers are posing as bank customer service departments. They’ll text you asking if you’ve made a large purchase or withdraw recently. If you text them back, you’ll receive a call from the scammers. They’ll then instruct you that you need to move your money through the payment app Zelle to protect your account. What you’re actually doing is taking money out of your own account and sending it straight to the scammers. This scam has been an ongoing problem since at least this past fall.

    Recently, in Texas, a victim is said to have lost $25,000 to scammers through the Zelle app. Her story is much like the others. Except, instead of a text, she had a voicemail that was claiming to be from Chase Bank asking her if she had recently made a $5000 payment. She called the number back and the scammer told her that there had been fraudulent activity on her account and that she needed to use Zelle to reverse the fraudulent payment. Usually, that’s when the scammers disappear, but in this victim’s case they kept the scam going. They called her back in successive days, telling her the fraudulent activity happened again and that she needed to reverse the payment though Zelle again. This happened a total of five times for a total of $25,000 before she realized she had been scammed.

    In many of these cases, the banks try to wash their hands of the matter by saying that they’re not responsible for money lost through the Zelle scam. Some victims have gotten their money back but only after getting their local news media involved.

    If you receive a text asking you about fraudulent activity on your bank account, do not respond to it. Instead, call the customer service number listed on your debit card or bank statement. You can also visit your bank’s local branch, and they should also be able to assist you.

    If you end up being a victim of this scam, do not hesitate to take action. Notify your local police and bank immediately. This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get your money back, but it goes a long way in helping. The longer you wait, the less of an opportunity there will be to reclaim your loss.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on December 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , ,   

    Will Zelle replace gift cards in online scams? 

    By Greg Collier

    Just yesterday, we were talking about gift cards and how they’ve been the payment avenue of choice for most scammers. Well, if current trends continue, the mobile payment app Zelle may start catching up to gift cards. By now, you’re probably familiar with the bank impersonation scam that uses Zelle. This is when a victim receives phony texts and phone calls that say the victim has fraudulent activity in their bank account. The scammers direct the victim to use Zelle to protect their account when, in reality, the scammers are directing victims to send all their money to the scammers through Zelle.

    Now, it seems that scammers are starting to use Zelle as they used to use gift cards. For example, a woman from Baltimore was trying to buy a puppy online. Unfortunately, she fell for the puppy scam. The puppy didn’t actually exist, and the scammers kept asking for more money for such things as special delivery crates and customs fees. You can read more on how to avoid puppy scams here. Anyway, the point being that the victim made all the payments through Zelle to her scammers. Historically, scammers like this would ask for payment in gift cards by making the victim read the numbers from the back of the gift card. As we’ve mentioned before, Zelle has a reputation for not offering many protections when it comes to getting scammed.

    Previously, it seems that banks only issue refunds to scam victims after the victims get their local media involved. However, there is another way where you can possibly get your money back if you’ve been scammed over Zelle. According to a consumer protection news report out of New York City, you’ll have the best chance of getting a refund from your bank if you file a police report, and report the scam to the bank within 60 days. Now, this is no guarantee you’ll receive a refund since many banks tell their customers that when using Zellee, the customer is responsible for all transactions including scams.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bank scam, DVD in the mail, , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Don’t put that disc in your computer 

    Scam Round Up: Don't put that disc in your computer

    By Greg Collier

    Once again, it’s time top bring our readers another trio of scams that deserve their attention.


    Our first scam is kind of a bizarre one. Residents of a town in Maine have reported receiving something strange in the mail. They’ve been receiving handwritten envelopes, addressed only to ‘A friend’. The envelope contains a DVD that has “Please watch, copy, and share with friends” written on it, with no indication of what may actually be on the DVD. More than likely, the DVD contains malware or ransomware. What’s strange about this story is most modern computers don’t even have optical drives installed in them anymore. This scam may have been targeting elderly residents who may have older computers that still have their optical drives. A more modern take on this scam is when scammers will leave USB drives lying around out in public, just hoping that someone will actually plug the drive into their computer.


    Our next scam is one that you’re probably more familiar with. Residents of New York have reported that they’ve received letters in the mail telling them that they’ve won an $880,000 sweepstakes. The letter even includes a check for $8000. However, you have to pay a $7000 fee to ‘release’ your winnings. This is illegal and known as the advance fee scam. Some victims may think they’ll just deposit the check and use the money to claim their supposed winnings. As you’ve probably surmised, the checks are fake, which would leave the victim paying back the amount of the check to their bank while the scammers make off with $7000. Not that we like to compliment scammers, but this is a pretty clever way of combining two known scams into one to further lure their victims into their trap.


    Lastly, this is just a warning to people who use mobile banking apps that Zelle scams are still finding victims and draining their bank accounts of thousands of dollars. A woman in Portland recently fell for the scam and lost $23,000. If you receive a text message that is supposedly from your bank asking if you’ve made a large purchase or transaction, do not reply. If you do, you’ll get a call from a scammer posing as your bank and will use the Zelle app to drain your account under the guise of protecting your money. Zelle should only be used when giving or paying money to someone you know personally. If you get a text like the one mentioned, call your bank directly instead, or stop by your local branch.


    Again, these scams may not be in your area right now, but they could be soon. Hopefully, you now have the knowledge to combat them.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 30, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , ,   

    Are banks too zealous for Zelle? 

    By Greg Collier

    If you haven’t heard of Zelle by now, it’s a mobile payment app designed to compete with the likes of Venmo and Cash App. The company behind Zelle is owned by a number of the major banks in America including Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo just to name a few. Many, if not all, of these banks include Zelle with their mobile payment apps whether the customer wants Zelle or not. Since many mobile banking customers are even aware of Zelle on their banking accounts, scammers have been able to use Zelle to empty the bank accounts of their victims.

    For the past few months, scammers have been sending text messages to their victims posing as the victim’s bank. The text message asks the victim if they recently made a large purchase and asks the victim to text back yes or no. When the victim texts back, they’re immediately called by a scammer posing as a bank employee. The scammer tells the victim that the victim’s bank account has been compromised and that the victim needs to move money through Zelle in order to ‘protect’ their account. In actuality, the scammers are moving the money from the victim’s account to the scammer’s account. This scenario most recently happened to a new mother and teacher in Atlanta where her Wells Fargo account was drained of $3500. Since Zelle doesn’t offer many customer protections, victim’s have been hit or miss when it comes to getting their money back from their bank.

    A huge problem with the recent Zelle scams is the fact that the banks are attaching Zelle to their mobile payment apps without a lot of customer education on how Zelle works. It also doesn’t help that if a customer wanted to opt out of Zelle, they can’t just check a box that deactivates their Zelle account. Instead, you have to call your bank’s customer service department to deactivate your Zelle account.

    Should banks be doing more to warn their customers about these scams? Is a small warning on the Zelle app about scams enough? What can the banks do to better educate their customers? Please let us know in the comments below.

  • Geebo 8:59 am on November 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , ,   

    New bank scam plaguing customers 

    New bank scam plaguing customers

    By Greg Collier

    As if bank customers didn’t have enough to worry about as it is, another scam with a familiar hook has started appearing. Much like the recent spate of Zelle scams, more scammers are calling their victims, posing as the victim’s bank. This particular scam is a little more disheartening because the scammers already have a lot of the victim’s information.

    Again, like many bank scams that have happened recently, the scam starts with a call to the victim from a scammer pretending to be from the customer service department of the victim’s bank. The victim is asked if their debit card has been used out of state. When the victim responds that they haven’t been out of state, they’re then urged to cancel their card due to fraudulent activity. The scammers already have the last 4 digits of the victim’s debit card. As the bank, the scammers then ask for the victim’s PIN, so they can ‘confirm’ the card’s cancellation.

    Once the victim gives the scammers their PIN, the scammers are off to the races, as they’ve already gleaned the victim’s debit card number from any number of data breaches. The only thing the scammers needed was the PIN, and from there they can drain the bank account the debit card is attached to. This scam has already been reported in Kentucky and could be on the way to spreading nationwide.

    If you ever receive a call from your bank about fraudulent activity, politely hang up and call them back at the customer service number on the back of your debit card or on the bank’s website. You can also visit your bank’s local branch to resolve any issues. Most importantly, never give your PIN to anyone over the phone unless you’re absolutely certain you’re speaking with your bank.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , credit union, ,   

    Payment app fraud may not be covered by your bank 

    Payment app fraud may not be covered by your bank

    By Greg Collier

    As we have seen with the recent incidents of the Zelle scam, banks aren’t exactly rushing forward to reimburse customers who have lost money due to payment app fraud. Many mobile payment apps require their users to connect either a bank account or a debit or credit card to their accounts. This has allowed scammers to drain bank accounts from many of their targets using multiple apps. These apps offer little to no fraud protection, with many of them just pointing to a page on their website that says how to look out for fraud. In a multitude of cases, many banks have refused to reimburse their customers since the fraud was committed on a third-party platform.

    For example, a couple in San Antonio, Texas, got a call from their credit union asking them about suspicious activity on their account. According to the credit union, there were 11 transactions that took place in the United Kingdom which amounted to $4000. Somehow, scammers got a hold of their Cash App information and were stealing money from the couple’s bank account through Cash App. The couple was angry since the credit union is said to normally call them for transactions over $500 but didn’t warn them about these transactions until it was too late. As with many of these stories, the credit union denied the couple a refund until the couple got the local media involved. All of a sudden, the fraudulent transaction was covered under the couple’s fraud protection on their account.

    If you’re a frequent user of payment apps like Cash App, you may want to link a credit card to your account instead of a debit card or bank account. Credit cards offer many more protections than the payment apps do on their own, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting your money back. If you don’t have a credit card, on some payment apps, you can limit the amount of payment that can be made. Payment app users should also do a daily check on their balance, as the sooner you can catch the fraud, the sooner you can do something about it.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on November 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , , ,   

    Another national bank used in Zelle scam 

    Another national bank used in Zelle scam

    By Greg Collier

    The Zelle scam continues to be an unstoppable force that has yet to meet its immovable object. In case you haven’t heard of this scam, Zelle is a payment app that’s preferred by many of the major banks in America. It works in a similar way to PayPal or Venmo but uses your bank account instead of a separate account. Scammers have been posing as banks and texting people, asking them if they just made a large purchase. When the recipient replies back with a ‘no’, the scammers call the person since they now know it’s a working number. The scammers will claim to be from the person’s bank and will instruct their victim that in order to prevent this fraudulent purchase, they need to send the money to themselves through Zelle. However, the money is actually being sent to the scammer.

    Previously, it was mostly reported that the majority of victims were customers of Bank of America, while other victims belonged to Chase Bank. Both B of A and Chase are part owners of Zelle. Now, we’ve seen a report where the victim was a customer of a different bank but also one of the Zelle owners. This bank would be Wells Fargo. A woman from South Carolina, who banks at Wells Fargo, received the text about the fraudulent purchase along with the follow-up phone call by a scammer claiming to be a Wells Fargo representative. This victim was also instructed to send the money to herself through Zelle. The exact amount she lost was not given, but was said to be in the thousands.

    The reason we’re mentioning Wells Fargo is that they are just one of nine banks that hold ownership in Zelle. Customers from any one of these banks could be vulnerable to this scam. The banks that we haven’t mentioned yet are BB&T, Capital One, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank, Ally, and US Bank. Potentially, even consumers who don’t use one of these banks could still be vulnerable to this scam, as some banks use Zelle even though they don’t hold ownership in it.

    If you receive a text asking if a fraudulent purchase has been made through your account, do not respond to it. This is how scammers know they’ve got someone on their hook. Instead, call your bank at their customer service number that’s listed on their website or on your debit card. That way, you can be sure you’re talking to a legitimate customer service rep from your bank. You can also go to your bank’s local branch, and they will also be able to assist you.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , retirees, ,   

    Retirees lose savings to new Venmo scam 

    Retirees lose savings to new Venmo scam

    By Greg Collier

    While Venmo is no stranger to scams on their platform, this may be one of the most heinous Venmo scams we’ve heard of. What makes this one worse than most is that the people being scammed didn’t even use Venmo.

    A retired couple from Florida who are said to be in ill health lost their life savings of close to $20,000 to a Venmo scammer. While it’s not required to use Venmo, some Venmo users connect a bank account to their Venmo account. Somehow, the scammer got a hold of the couple’s banking information and linked it to a Venmo account that the couple was unaware of.

    The scammer started slowly, at first only transferring small amounts under a dollar out of the couple’s account. Before too long, the scammer was transferring $1500 a week until the bank account was drained of $19,500. The couple didn’t notice until their rent check bounced. When they called their bank to try and resolve the matter, the bank reportedly told the couple to call Venmo. Venmo in turn is said to have told the couple to call the bank. The couple didn’t even know what Venmo was prior to this. Now, the couple is facing health and housing issues while the bank, Venmo, and police investigate the situation.

    What really is concerning is how was the scammer able to obtain the couple’s bank account information. One way that has been increasingly popular with scammers recently is stealing outgoing mail from people’s mailboxes. This is done in order to either obtain a check, so the scammers can rewrite the check. The mail and checks can also be used to obtain banking information as well. We’re not saying that this exactly what happened to this unfortunate couple, but it’s a good possibility.

    In this day and age, it’s always a good idea to make regular checks of your bank accounts for fraudulent activity. For most people, this can be done through mobile apps, where you can check your account at any time. However, for seniors who may still use older methods like waiting for their bank statement in the mail, there are other options. They can always call the customer service department of their bank to get a rundown of their account activity over the phone. They can also go to their bank’s local branch to obtain a print out of their account’s activity that they can review at home.

    If you have older relatives or friends who may not be tech-savvy, you may want to suggest that they keep a close eye on their bank accounts.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , , ,   

    Veteran loses college fund to nationwide bank scam 

    By Greg Collier

    A naval veteran from Southern California recently lost $19,000 to bank scammers. This particular bank account that was targeted by scammers was for his daughter’s college tuition. The man is a customer of Chase Bank and says the scam started with a text message that appeared to come from Chase. This was followed up by a phone call from someone claiming to be a Chase representative. The phone number the call came from was even said to have matched Chase Bank’s customer service number.

    The representative identified the man by name and also reportedly knew the last four digits of the man’s Social Security and debit card number. The man was told that there was fraudulent activity on his account. Before the man knew it, he was locked out of his bank account. When he got a hold of an actual Chase representative, he was told that wire transfers had been made from the account to a recipient in Florida. The entire account had been depleted.

    If you’ve been a reader of our blog for at least the past couple of weeks, this scam may sound familiar to you. This scam has a lot of the same hallmarks of the Zelle scam that’s been affecting bank customers nationwide. The difference here is that this is the first time we’ve heard of the scammers having a victim’s identifying information. With that information, they’d be able to bypass using Zelle, and access the account directly. It’s possible that the information was gained from some form of data breach and the call was made to confirm the information was up-to-date.

    If you receive a text from yours or any bank about fraudulent activity, do not respond to that text. Instead, call the bank from the customer service number that’s on your debit card or on the bank’s website. If you respond to the text, scammers may know that they’ve reached a live number where they can target a vulnerable consumer.

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