Zelle and Bank of America are calling attention to what is called the “pay yourself” scam.
It begins with a text message from a scammer that looks like a fraud alert from your bank. If you respond to the message, you’ll receive a call from a number that appears to be your bank. The scammer then pretends to be a representative from your bank or credit union and offers to stop the alleged fraud.
However, the scammer is actually tricking you into sending money to their own bank account.
How They Scam You
When you enroll with Zelle, your bank sends you a secure one-time passcode to verify your identity. The scammer will tell you they need this passcode to authorize a payment to yourself. Once the scammer is given the one-time passcode, they’ll be able to enroll their bank account with Zelle using your email or phone number.
The money you thought you were sending to yourself is sent directly to their bank account.
How To Protect Yourself
It is important to remember that your bank will never ask you to send money to yourself. If you detect suspicious activity, call your bank right away using a number you trust. Use the number the number listed on your debit card, on your banking app or on the bank’s official website. Do not call or text the number that was used to call or text you.
You should also never share passcodes, especially based on a call you receive. Caller ID can be deceiving and numbers can be faked – it’s not always who it says it is.
“With the year end on the horizon, there has been an increase in malicious activity,” said TNTMAX Chief Operating Officer Eric Valdes. “Accounts Payable, Receivables and Payroll fraud come in all shapes and sizes this time of the year and employees from every remit of an organization should be on high alert.”