FTC urges caution when using payment apps like Venmo, CashApp and Zelle

The apps make it easy to send money -- and that can be a problem.

In today's digital age, the convenience of sending money through apps like Venmo, CashApp or Zelle is undeniable. These platforms are connected to your payment methods, allowing you to transfer money to friends and family quickly and easily.

However, as these apps gain popularity, so does the risk of falling for scams. Savvy scammers take advantage of the trust we place in these apps to try to trick us.

Convenience and risk

The appeal of paid apps lies in their simplicity and efficiency. With just a few taps on your mobile device, you can send money to anyone in a matter of seconds. However, it is crucial to remember that this convenience comes with inherent risks.

Payment apps are linked directly to your payment methods, which means that if proper precautions are not taken, you could be exposing your sensitive financial data to potential fraudsters.

Scammers' modus operandi

Fraudsters are known for their creativity and cunning when it comes to deceiving people. Often, they pose as loved ones in distress or even offer fake prizes in order to persuade you to send them money.

A common type of scam on these platforms involves Zelle. The scammers impersonate your bank and instruct you to transfer funds to a new account that actually belongs to them. The difficulty in recovering the money transferred in these situations makes it essential to be vigilant and take preventative measures.
Steps to protect yourself

Security and prevention should be your primary concerns when using payment applications. Here are some essential steps you can take to protect yourself from potential scams:

  1. Verify the recipients.

Before making any money transfer, be sure to carefully verify the identity of the recipient. Check that you are sending money to the right person and not to a scammer pretending to be someone else.

2. Confirm requests

If you receive a request for money through one of these applications, especially if it seems unusual or urgent, it is important that you take the time to confirm the request with the person directly through known communication channels. Calling or texting a number you already have on record can help you confirm the authenticity of the request.

3. Be wary of unusual payment methods.

Fraudsters often request unusual payment methods, such as gift cards or unusual bank transfers. If you are asked to use an unfamiliar payment method, investigate thoroughly before proceeding.

What does the FTC say about scams and fraud using CashApp, Zelle and Venmo?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has cracked down on scams and fraud using payment platforms such as CashApp, Zelle and Venmo.

The FTC advises consumers to carefully verify the authenticity of applications before making transfers. In addition, the FTC has implemented a website, ReportFraud.ftc.gov, where consumers can report fraud directly and easily.

Likewise, those affected can contact the respective technical support teams of each of these applications to initiate the complaint process.