One Zelle of a predicament

Scammers are increasingly requesting that victims use a new transaction app preferred by many major banks.


Swiping, scanning or sending to purchase an item or pay a bill becomes more and more commonplace every day.

One Little Rock man got a virtual reality check recently.

Craigslist posts warnings about scams...but not the methods used by scammers.

When a ticket seller told Brian Bennett to pay him using a new money transfer method called Zelle...he didn't think much of it.

When Bennett saw this Craigslist post for Brad Paisley tickets...he contacted the seller.

"And the individual on the other end said he used Zelle,” recalls Bennett. “Did I use Zelle? And I had never heard of it before. I was familiar with it in the sense that I had seen it in my Bank of America app but I had never actually used it previously. "

With the app already conveniently on his phone and offered by his bank, Bennett had a level of trust...a level he now says was misguided.

The seller was a scammer...but because Bennett voluntarily sent his money via Zelle...he was told he was out of luck.

"If someone steals my Bank of America credit card information and they run up a bunch of fraudulent charges on my credit card Bank of America protects me,” says Bennett. “If someone steals checks to my Bank of America checking account and writes a bunch of checks on my account, Bank of America protects me. So...when you are using the Zelle service which sits within the Bank of America assume there are certain protections or similar protections associated with that. But unfortunately that is not the case."

It is not just Bank of America customers who need to know how Zelle works. The number of banks and credit unions partnering with Zelle is growing and already includes Chase, Wells Fargo and Citibank.

And it's not just scammers that can pose a problem. If you enter in a wrong phone number or email address and send may be hard to get that money back.

Part of the appeal of Zelle is increased transaction speed. But that same speed can make it difficult to catch, stop or reverse scam transactions.

Air date: April 24th, 2018

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