I recently found myself in the situation where I wanted to send some money to my adult son. We don’t use the same bank, but I thought, “hey, with today’s online banking this should be easy”. So I turned to to Zelle, the peer-to-peer payment app that is supported by my bank and is quite popular. But as always, I was wary because the easier a service is to use, the more likely it is to be a target of scammers. Sure enough there is a type of phone scam called a “me-to-me scam” which Zelle is prone to. A “me-to-me” scam is a scam that operates by convincing you a transaction is safe because you are only sending something to yourself. Here’s how it works with Zelle: you get a call from a scammer who claims to be from your bank, saying that someone has made an unauthorized transfer. To stop the fraud, you are told, you need to Zelle money to your own phone number. The scammer says the bank will send you a code via text to confirm, which the scammer will ask you to read aloud. Unbeknownst to you, however, the text from your bank is actually a two-factor-authentication code that will allow the scammer to assign a different phone number — the scammer’s — to your Zelle account. So when you send money from your bank via Zelle to yourself, you’re actually sending it to the scammer.
Well now that you know about it, you’re unlikely to become a victim. And as always, if you want to fight back against evil scammers, send those scam callers to our pirates and we will keep them busy and make their nefarious practices less profitable!
Thanks for reading!
The Scambiter at Jolly Roger Telephone Company