Scammers target victims using popular money transfer app Zelle

It’s one of the fasting growing types of scams, and the path to your money is a popular payment app connected to big banks.

News 8 On Your Side investigation found a York County man who nearly lost $10,000.


How the scam works

A few days before Christmas, Jeremy Zuck got a call from someone claiming to be with his bank, PNC.

It wasn’t PNC. It was a scammer who told him this:

«My bank account had been compromised, and the transactions had been processed through Zelle,» Zuck said.

The scam caller was trying to get into his Zelle account and just needed an access code that was sent to Zuck’s phone. It’s the same type of code we all get to verify our identity for accounts.

Zuck, believing it was his bank, provided the code to the caller.

Then he looked at his Zelle account.

«I saw multiple Zelle transactions over the course of three days and a total of about $10,000 missing,» he said.

Zelle is an online service that allows consumers to send money to someone else’s bank account. It’s owned by seven major U.S. banks – JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, PNC, Truist, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

Fortunately, Zuck was able to get his money back through PNC.

But there are many banks that are not so willing to reimburse customers for Zelle fraud.

«What the banks are saying is that because you as the consumer have your cellphone and you have pressed the button you’ve authorized the charge,» said Rachel Gittleman, with the Consumer Federation of America.

Protect yourself

If you get a call about Zelle and you’ve never opened an account, you know right away that it’s a scam.

If you do have Zelle, don’t take any action based on the first call you get claiming there’s a problem with the account.

Hang up and look for the number of your bank on your own. Call it to see what’s happening.

It’s your money. Do what you have to do to protect it.