How to avoid a scam when using Mobile Payment Apps?

Mobile payment apps have become very popular in recent years and can be a convenient way to send and receive money. With the rise in popularity of mobile payment apps, there has been a rise in scammers trying to steal money. Read below to find out how mobile payment apps work and how to avoid scams.

How Mobile Payment Apps Work

There are many different payment apps including Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle that allow you to send and receive money through your smartphone. If you have not used one before, here is how they work.

To begin using a mobile payment app, you will need to create an account. You may also need to link your payment account to your bank account or credit card. When you are creating your account, check if you can turn on additional security features to help make your account more secure. Some of these extra security features may include multi-factor authentication, create a PIN, or use fingerprint recognition.

Once you set up your, you may be able to use the app to make payments at some stores.

With mobile payment apps, you can also send money to people you know – just make sure you are sending money to the right person. When sending money make sure to double check their email address, phone number or username.

People can also use the app to pay you. When you are paid on the app, the payment will not go directly to your bank account. Instead, it will appear in the app account balance. You can then decide what to do with the money once it is in your account. Some of these options include:

  • Leave the money in your mobile payment account.
  • Send that money to someone through the app.
  • Transfer the money to your bank account.

How to Avoid Sending Money to a Scammer

For many years, scammers have been made up many kinds of stories to trick people into sending them money. These are some of the lies that scammers may tell you:

  • You won a prize and must pay fees to collect it.
  • A family member is in trouble and they need you to send money.
  • You owe taxes to the IRS.
  • They are from tech support and need money to fix a problem with your computer.
  • They are romantically interested in you and need money.

Scammers want you to pay quickly and in a way that is hard to get your money back. So, they usually want you to wire money, use reloadable cards or gift cards.

Another way a scammer will try to have you send money is through a mobile payment app. If you receive any emails or text messages that ask to send money, make sure you don’t click on the links. Always log in to the payment app that you use to verify if you have any money requests. If you don’t, the email or text message is probably a scam.

What to Do If You Sent Money to a Scammer

If you sent the money to a scammer, report the scam to the mobile payment app and ask them to reverse the transaction right away.

After reporting the scam to the payment app, report it to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC can report these scams to and help build cases against other scammers.

This information was obtained through the Federal Trade Commission.