How to protect yourself from Person-to-Person Payment scams

Person-to-Person (P2P) services or “cash apps” like Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, and CashApp are great for their convenience.  In fact, 70% of consumers reported using at least one P2P service as of year-end 2020.  But as with all things involving money, scammers are lurking in the shadows. Here’s how to keep yourself (and your money) safe when usingP2P.

Be Detail Oriented

The sad truth about cash apps is that once the money is sent, it’s pretty much gone. As NBC News notes, under the current law, once money is sent it’s an “authorized transaction,” and there is no legal way to retrieve the funds. That means the more detail-oriented you can be, the better.  Avoid sending money to anyone who’s payee name is spelled oddly, is overly long, or contains special characters, as these are hallmarks of fraudsters!  Before you send money, triple check usernames, phone numbers, everything. If you can confirm that you’re sending money to the right person with a picture on their profile, even better.

Don’t Use It for Products

One big red flag that you’re hooked into a cash app scam? You’re using it to purchase something from a retailer. Retailers typically don’t use cash apps for the legal reasons cited above.

Keep it Personal

An easy way to make sure you don’t get involved in a cash app scam is to only use the apps for transactions with friends and loved ones. Never send money to a person you don’t know personally.  Cleaning up the contacts on your phone can also help you avoid sending money to the wrong person.

Watch out for Promises

One tactic scammers are using with cash apps is to promise a large sum of money later, in exchange for a smaller sum now. Essentially, someone will message you claiming that if you send $50 to them today, they’ll send you $500 in a week. Obviously that money never comes. Once again, never trust anyone you don’t know with your cash app funds.

Set up Alerts with Digital Banking

One of the best ways to keep tabs on your card activity is to set up an alert within Adventure’s digital banking.  After logging in, select settings, then alerts.  Choose “My Alerts,” then click “Add New.”  Choose “Debit Card” as your alert type, choose how you’d like to be alerted, and click “save.”  You will now be notified of every debit card transaction to clear your account.

Written by: Chris O’Shea with editing by Adventure Credit Union