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Can you get scammed on Zelle?

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  • 4 min read
Photo: Tada Images /

Photo: Tada Images /

Zelle is a popular service that allows users to send money quickly and easily to friends, family, or acquaintances. People like it because it’s easy to use, and you can quickly split bills, pay back friends, or buy things. However, just like other online services, Zelle isn’t completely safe from scams and fraud.

This article discusses whether you can get scammed on Zelle, the types of Zelle scams and how to protect yourself from Zelle scams.

Also read: Can Zelle refund money if I was scammed?

Can you get scammed on Zelle?

Yes, it is possible to get scammed on Zelle. Zelle is a convenient peer-to-peer payment platform, but scammers have found ways to exploit it. Various scams involving Zelle have been reported, and it’s important to be cautious.

Common Zelle scams

Here are some common scams and things you need to know about them.

  • Impersonation Scam: This is when a scammer pretends to be someone you know, like a friend or family member, and says they need money urgently. They might contact you via email, text, social media, or phone. Sometimes, they pretend to be a company or government agency, claiming you owe them money, your bills are overdue, or you must pay fines. They can also pose as charities or people in need.
  • Romance Scam: Scammers create fake dating profiles on social media or dating apps to build relationships with you. Once they’ve gained your trust, they ask for money or gifts, often requesting cash through Zelle. Be cautious if someone you’ve never met in person asks for money.
  • Phishing Scam: Scammers send emails or texts that look like they’re from a real bank or financial institution, asking you to click on links or open attachments. If you do, you might download malware that steals your personal information. Remember, your Zelle account is meant for trusted transactions.
  • Fake Invoice Scam: Scammers, you know, send emails or texts that seem to be from a legitimate business. They ask you to click on a link to view an invoice, but if you do, you might end up on a fake website that steals your info.
  • Overpayment Scams: Scammers overpay for an item or service and then ask the seller to refund the excess amount via Zelle. After the refund is made, the initial payment is found to be fraudulent, leaving the seller with a loss.
  • Lottery Scam: Scammers claim you’ve won a prize and ask you to click on a link to claim it. Once you enter your Zelle account, they can access it and steal your money.
  • Goods-and-Services Scam: Be cautious when shopping online and paying with Zelle. Scammers may offer discounted items but never deliver them. If a deal seems too good to be true, it might be a scam.
  • Facebook Marketplace Scam: Be cautious when using Zelle for transactions on platforms like Facebook Marketplace. Ensure the legitimacy of the seller or buyer before transferring money.
A graphic showing a phishing hook attached to account login details on a laptop.

Protecting yourself from Zelle scams

Here are a few tips to avoid Zelle scams.

  • Verify the Recipient: Always double-check the recipient’s information, especially if it’s someone you don’t know personally. Confirm their identity through a trusted source before sending money.
  • Use Trusted Sources: Only use Zelle for transactions with trusted individuals or established businesses when making purchases or payments online. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.
  • Be Cautious with Requests for Overpayment: Consider it a red flag if someone asks you to refund an overpayment via Zelle. Verify the legitimacy of the initial payment before proceeding.
  • Don’t Share Personal Information: Avoid sharing sensitive information with anyone, like your Zelle login credentials or bank account details. Zelle will never ask for this information via email or text.
  • Beware of Phishing Attempts: Be cautious of unsolicited messages or emails asking you to click on links. Always verify the sender’s identity and the website’s URL before providing any information.
  • Use Strong Authentication: Ensure you have strong, unique passwords for your Zelle account and enable two-factor authentication if available.
  • Report Suspicious Activity: If you encounter suspicious activity or believe you’ve been scammed on Zelle, immediately report it to your bank and the Zelle customer support team.

Also read: Does Zelle work with Chime?


Akash Singh

Akash is a law graduate who likes to go for bike rides on the weekends soul-searching for answers to his many existential questions. You can contact him here: [email protected]