Authorities Warn Holiday Shoppers About New Money App Scam

Authorities Warn Holiday Shoppers About New Money App Scam


Police warn shoppers about a new money app scam making the rounds before the holidays. Is your account safe? Today we’re going over tips for what you need to do to keep your account information secure. If you lose access to your account, you could lose hundreds of dollars!

The Scam

Phishing scams are nothing new, but savvy criminals consistently find new ways to pressure shoppers. The phishing scam involves tricking users into resetting their passwords on payment apps like Zelle, CashApp, and PayPal. The complex scheme is devious, so here’s what you should know.

The scam starts when a mark gets a text message from someone who says they’re the bank’s fraud department. The message prompts the victim to verify payment on a payment app like Zelle or PayPal. If the person responds to the scammers, they get a phone call from someone claiming to be their bank.

The “bank” will ask the victim to confirm their identity by stating their Zelle username. Then, the scammer tells the mark to expect a one-time code from Zelle regarding a password change. They ask for this code over the phone and disconnect when the victim tells the “bank” their code.

What Happened?

The scammer, posing as a fraud prevention agency, steals the user’s login information and resets their password. This scheme is ingenious because it sidesteps some “common sense” checks. Most people know they shouldn’t give out their passwords over the phone, but they might not realize that telling someone their verification code can compromise their account.

Criminals sidestep two-factor authentication by directly asking their victims for the authorization code. Once they have this code, they can access their victim’s payment app and freely drain the mark’s accounts. Once they’re in, the scammers have plenty of time to steal everything from an unsuspecting user.

Since the criminals changed the app password, users must contact customer support to recover their account. By then, it’s too late: the scammers have emptied their accounts.

How To Avoid This Scam

Never give anyone access codes from your applications. If your bank’s fraud department contacts you about suspicious activity, they won’t need you to verify your username or password. They’ll ask for information like where your most recent purchase was and how much it cost.

If someone calls you and asks for your username for an app like Zelle or CashApp, they’re trying to steal from you. Tell them to leave you alone, hang up, and block the number.