AARP ElderWatch: Beware of peer-to-peer money transfer scams

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Published Friday, July 3, 2020

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment platforms like Venmo, PayPal, Cash App, Apple Pay and Zelle allow consumers to transfer funds online or through an app quickly from their bank account to other people or businesses. In a recent ElderWatch survey 43 percent of Coloradans 50+ indicated that they use these apps for the recommended purpose, transferring funds to friends and family. But beware, scammers are requesting payment via P2P apps more and more. Here are some tips to help stay safe:

  • When you transfer money from your account to another person or business it is gone. Similar to a wire transfer. Only send money to people who you know.
  • Certain platforms like CashApp, Venmo and Zelle DO NOT have customer service numbers. Disputes must be handled online or within the app. An online search for a phone number could result in a scam.
  • When you receive a payment from a friend or family member, transfer your funds from the app to your bank account immediately.
  • P2P platforms shield your financial information from hackers and scammers by encrypting your data (which means scammers can't read it). Protect your information even more by adding a passcode to your account in the app settings.
  • Before paying for goods, always check the URL starts with: https://. This indicates the connection is safe. Never pay for goods over public Wi-Fi.
  • If an online retailer requires payment via a P2P payment app for event tickets or a pet, it's a scam.
  • In addition to P2P apps, scammers also often request funds via prepaid gift card or wire transfer. If someone you do not know asks you to pay using these methods, consider it a scam.

ElderWatch can be reached at 800-222-4444 (in the Denver Metro Area call 303-222-4444) or at www.aarpelderwatch.org.

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