Carrying cash is slowly becoming passe as digital payment apps continue to grow. However, with that technology comes problems that go beyond “growing pains.” Apps that facilitate digital payments continue to grow in popularity. Considerable advantages exist when using apps distinct in place of cash, including the ability to recover money going into the hands of scammers.
Convenience at a cost
However, Zelle users are discovering that convenience comes at a cost. The digital payment network, with seven people sharing ownership, allegedly is failing to protect them from acts of fraud. Chances of resolving a unapproved transfers seems to be, at best, slim. The discovery of potentially widespread and highly sophisticated grift has resulted in multiple investigations. Specific allegations surround the Zelle’s money transfer service victimizing Truist Financial customers.
Texts sent to customers requested approval of a recent Zelle transaction, many of them in the thousands of dollars. A reply of “no,” results in the perpetrators instructing them – using fake caller ID – to send a second transfer through Zelle to allegedly cancel the initial one deemed fraudulent. That move then triggers a deposit into an account owned by the scammers.
Other so-called strategies see the fraudsters offering Zelle customers counterfeit concert tickets if their victims initiate a transfer. Many victims saw their accounts emptied.
Possible violations of consumer protection laws
To make matters worse, Truist and other banks are purportedly violating consumer protection laws by allegedly refusing to refund customers for the acts of fraud. Zelle scams are increasing according to a Senate report on how banks are responding to the growth in these types of swindles. Even with evidence of the scam, less than half of customers are reimbursed.
The bond of trust between bank customers and their preferred financial institutions can become tenuous at best, particularly if that institution is not providing the protection necessary to stop fraud.