What Are Zelle Scams, and Why Do People Keep Falling for Them?

What Are Zelle Scams, and Why Do People Keep Falling for Them?


The popular payment app Zelle is very convenient for users who make lots of purchases among their peers and like to spend their money online. However, it’s also become extremely popular among scammers who like to use the platform as a way to trick people out of their hard-earned money.

Some lawmakers are now calling on banks and Zelle to do more to protect users from these fraudsters. What are the most popular Zelle scams, and how can users avoid them? Read on for our top tips for avoiding these insidious scams. 

Fraud Claims

Most Zelle scams start with a con artist calling a random phone number. They use a program to disguise their phone number to look like they’re calling from Wells Fargo or another large bank.

They contact users and hope that their cold call lines up with reality. They’ll claim to be a fraud representative from the bank and insist that there’s been fraudulent activity in the user’s Zelle account.

These scams require a few things to go right in a row for the con artist: they need to correctly guess their victim’s banking institution as well as find someone who also uses Zelle. Some enterprising scammers might determine this information beforehand and target specific bank customers. 

Getting Your Information

Once the scammer convinces you that they’re from your bank’s customer service department, they’ll ask you to confirm things like your bank account number and your Zelle login information. They’ll act like this is just to verify account information and protect you from fraud, but, in reality, they’re getting this information so they can transfer money to themselves.

Once you’ve given the scammer your login information and verified things like your bank account number, the damage is done. They’ll siphon the money out of your account and disconnect the line. Calling them back won’t help: they used software to scramble their phone number. Your money is gone, and there’s nothing you can do.

Avoiding This Scam

Never give anyone your bank account information over the phone. If someone calls and claims that they’re from your bank, ask them to verify your account information, not the other way around. You’re a customer at a bank, not a criminal defending against fraud claims.

If you give strangers your account information, there’s not much you can do to remedy the situation. Change your passwords and login information and move forward, and remember to treat all sensitive information as confidential in the future.