For Android and iOS users alike, the availability of mobile payment apps has become a revolutionizing perk in dealing with transactions. However, the reality is that mobile payment apps tend to be favored hubs for scammers to wait to prey on others.
According to the New York Times in one of their recent stories, it was relayed that scammers and fraudsters have been using a well-known payment app, Zelle, as a breeding ground for their scams. Other than that, there are also other providers of banking services that have taken measures to warn their clientele of fraudsters who impersonate employees of the bank. These impersonators may demand sensitive information or payments through email, SMS, or over a call.
This is an alarming threat. Hence, it is the challenge of not just service providers but also users to be proactive in staying safe. How, then, can scams in mobile payment apps be avoided?
Pay attention to the red flags
The US Federal Trade Commission gives a warning regarding the signs that show that a specific user is being preyed on by a banking application. Typically, cybercriminals reach out to their targets through SMS, email, or call. In such a case, the scammers may tell their targets any of the following.
- The targets are winners of a certain prize and would, hence, need to process and pay for the fees in order to collect the prize
- The targets have a loved one in need of cash assistance.
- The targets have tax dues to pay.
- The scammers are from a tech support team and would need payment in order to deal with a problem in the target’s computer.
- The scammers have romantic interests and would need some cash.
These scammers would tell their targets to send cash to the scammers by using a mobile payment app. If any links are mentioned in the SMS or email, users should not click them. Moreover, users can log into the mobile payment app to check if any money requests have been made. If there are no pending requests, the SMS or email received may have been a phishing scheme.
Know the difference between fraud and scam
On the website of the mobile payment app Zelle, the company explained that being a victim of a scam and of fraud are not the same. For one, regarding money transfers on money apps such as the aforementioned, if unauthorized access was made by someone which led to the stealing of funds, this can be reported as a fraud incident to the corresponding financial company. In such a case, the company may take action in reversing the charges made. However, if payment was authorized, the financial company may not grant the money back. The latter often takes place in scams where the targeted victim actually releases payment for services or goods that they end up not getting.
Be secure from these schemes
If transfer requests are made by individuals or institutions that the targeted user does not know, this should not be accepted. Moreover, users should also be careful in giving out personal and sensitive information, especially to strangers. At times, the caller ID may not also be trusted because it can be easily spoofed. If requests are made, users can verify and clarify with the requester of the money through voice calls or through an in-person meeting.