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Use Zelle or Venmo? If so, be careful of scammers!


In recent years, money transfer apps such as Zelle, Venmo and Cash App have become an increasingly popular way to transfer money. Whether you are trying to pay for your portion of an upcoming vacation, owe someone rent, or pay someone back for a meal at a restaurant, these apps have become the primary source for completing these transactions. But like anything else that involves finances, you are susceptible to falling victim to a scam if you aren’t aware of the schemes being utilized.

One scheme that has become popular is the “accidental” deposit scam. Here a scammer will usually find your number or information through social media and send you a sum of money, they will then request that you send it back to them, because they “accidentally” sent it to the wrong person. This money is typically coming from a stolen credit card that has not yet been reported. Once you have sent back the exact sum they have sent you, you are now taking money out of your account that you will not be able to get back.1

How else are scammers getting a hold of victim’s money? In all the typical ways we have seen popularized from social media. There are get-rich-quick scams, friend or family member in need scams and even romance scams from people you meet on social media.2 Scammers are always a step ahead, so do your best to remain skeptical of any transaction request from an unknown source and talk with someone you trust before sending any money to an unknown source.

If you do fall victim to any of the scams mentioned above, make sure to report it to the FBI (IC3.gov), Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov), and even with AARP (aarp.org/fraud).2 There is still no guarantee you will recover your lost funds, but it’s worth the shot and will alert the necessary officials of the active scams that are affecting victims.

The moral of the story is to be careful when using your finances! Once you have sent the money, it’s more than likely gone. So make sure you personally know the source you are sending money to and make sure it is for legitimate reasons. Use these apps wisely!


  1. https://www.khou.com/article/money/dont-fall-for-the-accidental-venmo-deposit-scammer-sends-you-money-and-then-asks-for-it-back/285-798f1d19-ef0b-4924-a093-eb763657167f
  2. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/opinion/columnists/so-what-scams-are-using-zelle-and-venmo-almost-all-of-them/article_0ce874f4-5d0b-11ec-980b-2b944c1a7f3b.html

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