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Pennsylvania State Police Warn Of New Zelle Scam

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- State police are reminding Pennsylvanians to be vigilant about scams involving peer-to-peer payment applications like Zelle, Venmo and Cash App.

State police said they're aware of a new scam going around the state involving Zelle. It's called the "Zelle Scam".

The app allows you to send money to and from each other through your bank. It's a convenient way to handle money, but it can also turn into a big headache if you fall victim to a fraudster.

It starts out as a text message claiming to be your bank's fraud department. The message claims you have a suspicious payment through Zelle and asks you to verify the transfer. If the victim responds to the text, the fraudster then calls the victim claiming to be from the fraud department and asks for your username to verify your identity.

"They may ask for additional information, including notifying the victim they'll be receiving a one-time code to their phone and a possible notification from Zelle about a transfer that just occurred or occurred in the past," said Trooper Cliff Greenfield with Troop A.

State police said these notifications are legit, but the key here is the fraudster knows about them. What the fraudster is doing is walking the victim through the process to reset the victim's account password. Once the password is reset, your bank account can be emptied in a matter of minutes.

State police are offering these recommendations:

  • Become familiar with your peer-to-peer payment app's policies related to fraud protection.
  • Learn how to use your institution's mobile app and disable features you do not intend to use. Ask someone at your financial institution for help, if needed.
  • Learn to recognize your financial institution's fraud notifications and what you should do if you receive one.
  • Read text messages closely and ignore those from institutions where you do not have accounts or that do not make sense.
  • If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be from your financial institution, hang up and call them back at a phone number you know is valid. You can find the number online or in their mobile app.
  • Login information -- such as usernames, passwords, and any one-time codes or other authentication information -- is confidential and should not be shared with anyone, including anyone from your financial institution. No one from your financial institution will ever ask for your login information.
  • State police said if you fall victim to a scam, report it to your local police department.

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