- August 22, 2023
- Posted by General Electric Credit Union
- 5 read
Using Zelle® Safely: Security Tips for Peer-to-Peer Online Payments
Peer-to-peer payments like Zelle® are a fast, safe, and easy way to send and receive money with people you know and trust.1 Whether you need to request money from a travel companion, split bills with roommates, or send $5 to a coworker for your coffee order, you can do it all at your fingertips, 24/7/365.
Unfortunately, bad actors have tried to capitalize from the popularity of online payments by designing scams targeting users. Help safeguard your money by familiarizing yourself with their tactics and enlisting some best practices.
Peer-to-peer payment scams
Fake products or services
From sporting event tickets to second-hand items, there are many things listed for sale online. Scammers may ask you to pay for them through peer-to-peer payment services like Zelle® then ghost you once they receive the payment. Only send a peer-to-peer payment to individuals you trust.
A bad actor may contact you via email or text and try to convince you that you were overpaid for an item. For example, they may claim you were sent $4,000 for an item you listed for $400 and request you to send both the item and the amount you overpaid. They’ll take your money and your item – leaving you high and dry.
The term spoofing refers to a tactic used by scammers in which they masquerade as a trusted source to gain access to your personal information or financial data. For example, a scammer may impersonate a peer-to-peer payment service by creating an email address similar to a company’s legitimate one. They may email you from this address to “verify a transaction.”
Often, these messages prey on your fear by suggesting a transaction may be fraudulent. They will ask you to verify your account by providing your personal information or debit or credit card numbers, which they may then use to bypass the security measures on your accounts.
If you sell goods on seller apps like Facebook Marketplace, there are reports of bad actors using these platforms to defraud users. They may express interest in something you’re selling and ask for your phone number or email address to send you a payment. Then, they’ll send you a phishing email disguised as the app’s support. Clicking links in this email may put your device and personal information at risk.
Phishing is a type of cyberattack in which an attacker tricks you into divulging your personal information. This may involve spoofing, in which they disguise themselves as a trusted entity. They will provide a link that, when clicked, downloads malware onto your device. Or they may mockup a fake website for you to enter your login credentials – giving them access to your account.
Security tips for peer-to-peer online payments
- Only send money to people you trust. You may not be able to cancel a payment after it’s sent, so it’s crucial to only send money to friends, family, and others you trust.
- Educate yourself on scams. The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission are two fantastic resources to keep you up to date on scams – including those related to peer-to-peer online payments.
- Use a strong password. Whether you access a peer-to-peer payment solution through the standalone app or your bank or credit union’s online banking or mobile app, it’s important to use a strong password to protect your accounts. To generate a strong password, use a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols. Never re-use a password.
General Electric Credit Union members can now use Zelle® to send and receive money in the moment. The next time you need to send money to friends, family, or others you trust, use Zelle® through Online Banking or our mobile app.2 Money is sent in minutes,1 making peer-to-peer payments fast and convenient.