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Big banks discuss reimbursement for Zelle users victimized by scammers

Savannah Maher Nov 28, 2022
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Large banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase, are creating a system to reimburse customers who fall victim to scams. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Big banks discuss reimbursement for Zelle users victimized by scammers

Savannah Maher Nov 28, 2022
Heard on:
Large banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase, are creating a system to reimburse customers who fall victim to scams. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Apps like Venmo and Cash App got a major boost during the pandemic. But with new fintech comes new avenues for fraud, and scams on peer-to-peer platforms have caught the attention of federal lawmakers as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Wells Fargo, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan, among other banks, are beefing up security on Zelle and creating a system to reimburse customers who fall victim to scams.

Peer-to-peer payment was already picking up steam when the pandemic helped convince holdouts. Like John Buzzard, lead security analyst for Javelin Strategy and Research. 

“I remember very distinctly paying someone to work on my home during sort of like, peak COVID times,” said Buzzard. “He was willing to come in and do the work but he wanted a contactless form of payment.” 

Convenient. Problem is, the same features that make a peer-to-peer platform easy for consumers also make it enticing for scammers and fraudsters, said Rachel Gittleman with the Consumer Federation of America.

Bad guys use tried-and-true methods of tricking people, according to Gittleman.

But unlike, say, a credit card payment, there’s no delay on the transfer. And by the time we realize we’re being played, “It’s too late and there’s no recourse,” Gittleman said.

The news that scammed Zelle users could soon be reimbursed by the banks that own the platform comes as the industry faces calls for tighter regulation. 

“I would say it’s timely,” said Sheridan Trent with the Strawhecker Group, adding that for the banks, volunteering a fix could help build consumer trust. 

“You only have to kind of google it to see that it is becoming more and more known, there’s been more cases that are highly visible,” Trent said.

That is, cases of customers transferring money to people who aren’t who they say they are.

Consumers should be picky about when they use peer-to-peer payment, Buzzard said.

“My great example that I always give is, have we had dinner across the table from each other?” he said.

If the answer is no, Buzzard said, he’d think twice about sending you money through an app. 

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