What’s Zelle Fraud?
Glad you asked!
Criminals have discovered that Zelle Fraud is a great way to steal money from bank customers and instantly send bank fraud victims’ money to themselves and other criminal associates. That means it’s super easy for criminals to pitch in and get paid for all sorts of criminal activity like identity theft, data breaches, credit card fraud and a variety of scams.
How criminals send themselves YOUR money with Zelle Fraud
EMAIL (phish), TEXT (smish) or CALL (vish) BANK CUSTOMERS
Criminals email, text or call bank customers pretending to be bank employees from the fraud department.
TRICK BANK CUSTOMERS WITH FRAUD REFUND
Criminals trick bank customer victims to complete a “Zelle refund” quickly to stop suspected fraudulent withdrawals.
STICK BANK CUSTOMERS WITH ZELLE FRAUD LOSSES
Banks instantly “Zelle” customers’ money to criminals. Zelle and banks refuse to reimburse defrauded bank customers.
SECURE IN 60 SECONDS - Courtesy of leading cybersecurity and fraud expert Neal O'Farrell
victim horror stories
You can hear how criminals send themselves money from bank customer victims’ accounts in this YouTube video collection. And do they mention it’s fast? Like money-straight-into-criminal-bank-accounts-in-minutes fast! Watch to learn more how criminals can Pay-and-Play-It-Safe with Zelle Fraud, and how banks victimize their customers again by refusing to reimburse customers for Zelle Fraud losses . . . until news reporters started asking questions.
how to complain
If you have fallen victim to Zelle Fraud, you need to contact your bank immediately to start the refund process. Preserve the fraudulent “smishing” text or phishing email (take a screenshot; don’t erase it), and makes notes of your phone conversations with the scammer. Preserve the “recent call” list on your mobile phone to show the dates/times of your conversations with the scammers, and note the date, time and account balance immediately before and after the Zelle Fraud theft.
Immediately contact your bank first to try and get a refund. Good luck!
After you contact your bank, file an online fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) before proceeding to Step 2.
See the instructions below on “How To Report Zelle Fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).”
If your bank or credit union refuses to reimburse you for your Zelle Fraud loses after following Step 2, then it obviously does’t value your business, and you can no longer trust it to safeguard your money.
Learn “How to Switch to a New Bank or Credit Union” in this Six-Step Guide from NerdWallet.
Banks like to stay off the radar of regulators and lawmakers. If your bank refuses to refund your money for Zelle Fraud, it will be time to play hardball.
File these complaints with government officials to improve your chances of getting a Zelle Fraud refund:
Banks hate bad press.
Contact your local television stations and newspaper, and ask to speak with an investigative reporter who covers consumer complaints.
Direct the reporter to this website and explain how you fell victim to Zelle Fraud, and that your bank has refused to give you a refund.
If a reporter decides to cover your story, they will contact the bank for a comment. As many of the TV news reports above show, most banks will give you a refund to avoid bad press.
How To Report Zelle Fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Click HERE to go the FTC’s website to file a “Zelle Fraud Scam” report to the FTC. When you file your report, you will get a “next steps to do” list. The FTC will share your report with law enforcement partners to help with investigations and help stop “Zelle Fraud.”
You can review the FTC’s FAQs HERE if you want to learn more about the FTC’s online reporting process.
Select “Well-known or trusted business” in response to the question “Who were they pretending to be?”
Step 4 -Report the Details
> Select “No” in response to the question “Did the scammer offer to offer to fix a problem with your computer?”
> Select “Yes” in response to the question “Did you send the scammer payment of any kind?”
> Enter the amount of money you lost to Zelle Fraud. Most banks permit up to $3,500 per day in Zelle money transfers
> Select “Payment App or Service” in the drop-down menu for the question “What payment service did you use?”
> Type in “Zelle” in response to the question “What payment service did you use?”
> Enter the applicable date in response to the question “When did you most recently pay or send money?”
> In response the question “How did you first learn about (…the scam)?”, select one of the following from the drop-down menu: “text” “phone call” or “email.” You can answer related pop-up questions as applicable.
> Enter the phone number or short code on the Zelle Fraud scam text or telephone call. Note that the numbers appearing in the message likely were fake (“spoofed”), and te FTC needs to know this information.
Step 5 – Report Scammer Details
> Type in the name of your bank or credit union that the scammer pretended to be from.
> Type in the name (even though it’s likely fake) of the person you dealt with
> Select “No” if you have no other details about the person who spoke to you. Select “Yes” if you have additional details, like the location where they claim they were calling from, phone number(s), email address(es) and website(s), and input the information fields provided.
> DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED in the Comments Section.
> Here’s a suggested starting point: “On [DATE}, I received a [TEXT MESSAGE] [VOICE MESSAGE] [PHONE CALL] [EMAIL] from a someone who claimed to be with [BANK/CREDIT UNION NAME}.
The message stated that there were suspicious fraudulent ZELLE transactions on my [CHECKING ACCOUNT] [SAVINGS ACCOUNT] and that I needed to contact the fraud department immediately to avoid losing money. I followed the instructions from someone who I thought was a bank employee, but later discovered it was a scammer who stole [AMOUNT] from my account.
[PROVIDE DETAILS. NOTE IF YOU HAVE SCREENSHOTS OF THE SCAM AND TELEPHONE LOGS OF CALLS, AND WHETHER OR NOT YOUR BANK HAS REFUSED TO REIMBURSE YOU FOR YOUR ZELLE FRAUD LOSSES]”
>After completing this section, click “Continue.”
STEP 6 – Provide your details
Provide information about you so you can file your FTC report and get details on the next steps you should take.
> Select whether or not you’re filing the report on behalf of someone else
> Enter the following information:
> Your first and last name
> Your country of residence
> Your address, phone number and email address
> If you selected that you’re filing on behalf of someone else, you’ll be asked to enter the following information about that person: full name, country of residence, address, phone number and email address.
> Your (or person you’re filing for) age range
> Your (or person you’re filing for) military status
> Select whether or not you or the person you’re for is on behalf of a small business or organization.
> After completing this section, click on “Submit.”
Step 7 – Write down your FTC Complaint number
> Click on “View your report” to get a printable copy of your report. In addition to printing your report, you can use the “printer preferences” on your computer, and save your report in PDF format (example below) to submit to your financial institution and local police department if your bank requires you to file a police report in order to be reimbursed by your bank or credit union for Zelle Fraud.
> Click on the links in the “Your Next Steps” and “What Happens Next” sections for more information for more information.
> You can also go to the FTC’s FAQ Section and read Q&As under the sections: “After I file a report” and “Getting my money back”