Fraudsters Pose as Bank Employees in Zelle Scam
Customers of Wells Fargo have been scammed out of thousands of dollars by a savvy criminal scheme called Zelle fraud.
Fraudsters are targeting the bank’s customers by contacting them and pretending to be an employee of the bank. Once the victim addresses the contact, fraudsters then trick them into transferring money via the Zelle peer-to-peer payments platform.
Fraudsters are making this contact, often saying they’re from the bank’s fraud department. It’s an especially deviant scam considering the fraud centers on what seems to be a legitimate “anti-fraud” communication from the bank.
Cynthia Marin of Concord, CA said when she got a call from a Wells Fargo employee, she was convinced it was legitimate. That was until all her money stolen.
She said, “The money is gone. Gone. It just disappeared. Yeah… all the money’s gone. It’s just scary. It’s a scary feeling.”
Ms. Marin was first contacted by a fraudster via text, she said. “They were asking me if I had approved a Zelle transaction… and I said no.”
Then, almost immediately after responding to the text, her phone rang. “The number was from Wells Fargo…” Marin continued.
The fake Wells Fargo rep told her someone was actively withdrawing her money, and she needed to act fast to stop it. “They told me to go on Zelle and… transfer money to myself,” Marin said.
However, she quickly found out the transfer was not to herself, but to the account of the fraudsters. Her account was wiped out in a flash.
This scam is nearly identical to the one perpetrated on Bank of America customers last fall and seems to be spreading like wildfire. In fact, Zelle fraud is growing so fast, every banking institution and their customers need to be aware of it, as they could become victimized.
While Bank of America has offered some refunds to its customers, not all have been refunded. And Ms. Marin, a Wells Fargo customer, has not been refunded at all.
As Wells Fargo said, their Zelle payments were “processed as requested” so no refunds would be made. Although clearly defrauded, Wells Fargo customers are on the hook, as they approved the funds transfers.
“I thought I would be completely protected, especially through a scam… Whether I have $1 in there, or I have a million dollars in there, I should be protected,” said Ms. Marin.
Zelle fraud is not only putting customer accounts at risk, but the banks themselves are quickly losing reputational value.
By not fully protecting their customers, these institutions face the risk of customer flight to banks and credit unions who do protect their clients.
And it may take millions more in customer losses, lawsuits and flight before these institutions take note.
But financial institutions should not wait a moment longer to get a hold on this scam.
They can better protect their own and their customers’ assets with the latest anti-fraud measures.
These measures, notably artificial intelligence solutions, could help detect fraud much sooner, potentially preventing millions in fraud costs. Better, Ai solutions by ToolCASE operate in real-time.
Real-time fraud detection and prevention is needed to instantly alert fraud teams of potential Zelle scams, before transfers are made.
This state-of-the art technology is well ahead of anything fraudsters use to commit crimes, and it’ll take years for scammers to catch up.
Discover the ToolCASE solution to Zelle Fraud, HERE
Or, continue reading about the Wells Fargo fraud problem, HERE