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How to avoid Zelle scams — and what to do if you can’t

Credit Card Scams

How to avoid Zelle scams — and what to do if you can’t

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Zelle is a peer-to-peer payment network used by more than 1,000 banking apps. Like other P2P services, Zelle makes it convenient to send money to friends and family using their email address or phone number. But as convenient as it can be for you, it’s also that convenient for scammers who want your money.

Recently, Zelle’s been in the news because criminals are taking advantage of the platform to scam people into sending them money. Banks and credit unions are not responsible for money lost from P2P scams because people are knowingly making a payment themselves, unlike fraudulent transactions resulting from stolen credit or debit cards.

With Zelle, “your recourse options are very limited,” says Akeiva M. Ellis, co-founder of The Bemused, a financial literacy consultancy for young adults, and a Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. ambassador outside of Boston.

Here are a few tips to protect your money when using Zelle or any other P2P payment app, plus steps to take if you experience a scam.

1. Aim to use Zelle to pay friends and family only

Reserve Zelle and other money transfer apps for paying people you already know and trust, says Robert Burda, chief strategy officer and interim CEO of the nonprofit Cybercrime Support Network, whose work includes operating the nonprofit FightCybercrime.org as a resource for victims. “Once the payment’s…

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