STILLWATER, Oklahoma. – In today’s fast-paced culture, it can be handy to make a quick payment to a friend or business directly from a bank account. In the world of smart phones, money transfer apps have become a necessity for many.
While practical, there are concerns about these apps, said Cindy Clampet, assistant family resource management specialist at Oklahoma State University Extension.
“These apps add to the convenience of online or person-to-person shopping whenever consumers don’t want to use cash or a paper check,” Clampet said, describing two types of money transfer apps. . “Some, like Paypal, have a secure payment system that guarantees the security of the transaction. Others, like CashApp, Venmo, and Zelle, don’t offer such security and can be misused by crooks who want to steal your money.
Clampet urges consumers to be cautious if they opt for unsecured transactions as scammers have found various ways to drain their bank accounts. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to get the money back after a transaction.
Insecure apps usually don’t offer a phone number for immediate customer support. Clampet said if the money starts to disappear from the consumer’s account, it may take days before they get a response from the money transfer company.
“Often by the time the company contacts the consumer, their account has been emptied,” she said.
Scammers can also develop authentic looking websites with fake customer support phone numbers. What happens then, Clampet said, consumers are asked to make a transfer to make sure the app is working properly, but the account is then emptied by the scammer.
Sometimes the problem is not the app itself, but a scammer using a stolen credit card. Clampet said that when a money transfer app company found out about the problem, they would waive the charge and the consumer would suffer the loss.
“A variation of this money theft scheme is that the scammer will deposit money into your account and then contact you to report it was an error and request a refund via another transfer. the money transfer company waives the fee, you lose the money you already refunded, “she said.” This usually results in the money transfer company saying it can’t do anything. “
The Better Business Bureau offers some tips for consumers who use money transfer apps and those who have been scammed:
Report the crime to the police, the banking institution, the BBB, and the Federal Trade Commission.
Link the app to a credit card, not a bank account.
Never transfer money using public or unsecured WIFI.
Check credit reports regularly.
Configure multi-factor authentication for accounts requiring a PIN code.
Don’t use money transfer apps to sell items online.
Use money transfer apps only with your trusted family and friends.
“Consumers need to do whatever they can to protect their accounts because there is a con artist out there just waiting to take their money,” Clampet said.