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How To Recognize and Avoid Zelle Scams

Zelle is a payments network that makes it simple, quick, and safe to transfer money from one bank account to another.

It works by linking the U.S. bank account to Zelle and then transferring funds to another account. Both the payer and the payee need to be enrolled in Zelle; however, they do not need to have accounts in the same bank. Zelle transactions typically only take a few minutes to complete, and users can send and receive money without incurring any fees. 

Over $490 billion were sent by users in 1.8 billion transactions in 2021. Almost 3,000 financial institutions joined the Zelle network during the year, which speaks of its popularity. This popularity has made this payment app a prime target for con artists. This article will explain the most common Zelle scams and how you can avoid them.


Types of Zelle Scams

As Zelle is one of the easiest payment platforms out there, it also makes it easy to hack and use by fraudsters. Here are the most common Zelle scams to look out for while using the platform.

1. Impersonation

A Zelle impersonation scam occurs when a con artist pretends to be a reputable individual or organization in order to steal money. The con artist may use a fictitious mobile phone number or email address that appears to be from a family member, friend, or other trusted individual and then reach out to you via Zelle and request some money.

2. Romance scam

Romance scammers have mastered the art of the con, aka social engineering. They will develop a strong online relationship with their victim through initial befriending on dating websites. They will ask for money once their mark is captured’ for things like airfare, medical bills, and more. If the victim sent the money through Zelle, there’s a high chance of not ever seeing that money again.

romance scams

3. Fake invoice

In this type of scam, the victim receives a message or email from the company they work with. The message appears to be genuine and asks them to click a link to review an invoice. They will be taken to a phishing page that has been spoofed to look like that company’s website, where they will be asked to enter personal information. These details can be used to take control of the victim’s Zelle account once they are in the hands of the con artist.

4. Lottery scam

In this con, messages or emails seem to be from a lottery or prize-giving company. The user will be required to enter their Zelle account and click a link in the email or message to claim their prize and get the lottery winnings. If the user clicks on the link, they will be taken to a website that resembles the lottery company’s website. If the user enters their personal information, the fraudsters will access their account and may use it for malicious purposes.

lottery scams

5. Social media scams on Zelle

In this type of scam, fraudsters use social media to trick people into sending them money on Zelle. The con artist might make a fake profile on social media that looks like it comes from a reputable person or company and then use this profile to ask for money through Zelle.

A con artist, for instance, might set up a fake social media account to pretend to be a friend or family member and then use that account to send you messages and ask for money. They might say they’re having a hard time and need your help. Sometimes, they may ask you to pay for goods or services with Zelle, but they never deliver on their promises.

6. Zelle bank scams

When a fraudster uses Zelle to ask for money, they pretend to be a bank or financial institution. The con artist may contact you via Zelle and pretend to be from a bank using a fake email address or mobile phone number.

The fraudster can pretend to be a bank customer service representative and request your personal and banking information in a bank scam on Zelle. In addition, they might assert that there is a problem with your account and request that you transfer funds to a specific account in order to resolve the issue.

Another example is when a con artist sends you a phishing email that looks like it’s from the bank and asks you to click a link to update your account information. However, the link takes you to a bogus website that was made to steal your banking and personal information.


7. Zelle marketplace scams

A marketplace scam can occur on Zelle, where a con artist uses the platform to ask for money for goods or services they never intend to sell. The con artist might post ads for things for sale on online marketplaces like social media or classifieds sites and ask for money through Zelle.

A con artist might, for instance, advertise a car for sale online and request payment via Zelle but never deliver the vehicle. They might also demand payment for a ticket to an event or a vacation rental, but they never give either of those things to you.

If you have been scammed through online, then contact us to get your money back!

How To Get Your Money Back From A Zelle Scam?

Many people who have been a victim of a scam on Zelle were scammed at least twice. Once by any of the techniques above and after that from a scammer who poses to be a legitimate person from an organization trying to help. 

If you receive any of such messages or calls, be alert and don’t fall for such traps. In 2022, Zelle users lost over $250 million to scams, and only 9.6% of victims got a refund. So, if you’re wondering if you can get a refund after being conned on Zelle, the answer in most cases is no!

However, not all hope is lost. Here are the few steps you should immediately take after the realization of getting scammed to increase the chances of getting a refund.

  • Register a scam claim to your financial institution.
  • Request a refund from the recipient. If you’re lucky and they’re kind enough, you might get your money back.
  • You may be able to cancel the transfer in the event that the recipient has not yet signed up for Zelle. However, this is a rare case.
  • You should still report the scam to Zelle’s customer support even if you can’t cancel the transaction or get the con artist to return your money.
  • Request a chargeback and notify your bank of the fraud. Rather than dealing with Zelle directly, you might have better luck with your bank’s fraud department. You might even be able to request a chargeback and get back the money you lost.
  • You should file a police report in order for your financial institution to proceed with an investigation.
  • You should block the user in the Zelle app as well in order to prevent any further harassment or scams.
  • You should freeze your credit if you gave the scammer any sensitive information.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to lodge a complaint.

Key Takeaways!

There are not many cases where people get their lost money back. However, there is some hope left. There are chargeback companies that help you get your money back. Funds Trace is a legitimate company that is registered with FTC and other authorities and has helped thousands of individuals in getting their money back. Reach out now to start your chargeback journey as soon as possible.

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