Don’t Become a Victim of Payment App Fraud

Peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo, PayPal and Zelle have created convenience for making payments and transferring money. But they are not without risks and are a frequent target for fraudsters. FTSB wants to make sure consumers know how to use these apps safely and how to spot fraud.

Signs of Payment App Fraud

Payment apps are an effective tool for cybercriminals because their simplicity allows money to be transferred quickly, and the funds can be very difficult to recover. Some common tactics scammers use to commit fraud through payment apps include:

  • Impersonating a loved one, well-known company or government agency — Whether it’s by phone, email or text, if you receive unsolicited contact from someone trying to get you to send money through a payment app and claiming to be a person you know or a reputable organization, ignore it. If you are unsure if the request is legitimate, reach out to the person or company directly using contact info you already have or what’s available online to confirm its legitimacy.
  • Warning you that one of your accounts has been compromised — If you receive unsolicited contact from someone claiming that one of your accounts has been compromised, do not trust it. Look closely at who is contacting you to see if anything seems suspicious. And if it comes from someone claiming to be from Farmers Trust & Savings Bank, contact us directly to report the issue.
  • Claiming you’ve won a prize — If you are contacted by someone claiming you won a prize from a contest you don’t remember entering, it is likely a scam. Ignore any such solicitation.
  • Trying to sell you a product or service — If you are contacted by someone wanting to sell you a product at an unbelievable low price, do not trust it. You can do a web search to see if anyone else has received such a solicitation to verify its legitimacy, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Additionally, it is important to note that you should never store funds in nonbank payment apps like Venmo or Zelle. Unlike banks, those companies are not protected by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance. You are not guaranteed access to your money.