Zelle Scams: Protecting Yourself and Your Money

A recent announcement from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has brought some much-needed relief to victims of Zelle scams. Zelle is an extremely popular payment app, and reported $629B in payments in 2022, 99.9% of which were processed without any fraud reports. But, even at a small rate the fraud numbers are huge. Zelle customers lost $440m to fraud in 2021. Following pressure from the CFPB, banks will now refund customers scammed by fraudsters pretending to be a government agency, bank, or service provider on Zelle.

This is a significant development, as it means that victims of these scams will no longer be left out in the cold. For too long, banks have been able to shirk responsibility for these scams, arguing that it is the responsibility of the customer to be aware of the risks.

How Zelle Scams Work

Zelle scams typically involve a scammer impersonating a government agency, bank, or service provider. The scammer will then contact the victim and request that they send money through Zelle to resolve a fake issue. For example, the scammer may claim that the victim’s Social Security account has been compromised and that they need to send money to Zelle to fix the problem.

In other cases, the scammer may impersonate a buyer on a marketplace site, such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. The scammer will then agree to purchase an item from the victim and request that they send the payment through Zelle. Once the victim sends the money, the scammer will disappear without ever sending the payment.

Preventing Zelle Scams

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from Zelle scams:

  • Never send money to someone you don’t know and trust.
  • Be wary of any unsolicited messages or calls that ask you to send money through Zelle.
  • Double-check the recipient’s email address or phone number before sending money.
  • Never send money to resolve a fake issue.
  • If you think you have been scammed, contact your bank immediately.

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed

If you have been scammed, the first thing you should do is contact your bank. Your bank may be able to reverse the transaction and refund your money. You should also file a report with the CFPB.


Zelle scams are a serious problem, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. By following the tips above, you can help to keep your money safe. Share this info with friends and family, and don’t forget to follow us at Silverwatch Academy for more tips to stay safe!

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