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Payment apps, such as Venmo, PayPal, CashApp and Zelle have become a part of our social lexicon. These apps make sending money to a friend or family member extremely convenient. You can a payment more securely than with cash or a check, but it still comes with its risks. It’s important to protect yourself from scams when using payment apps because scammers are using them more frequently than ever to take advantage of unsuspecting users.

Manhattan DA Speaks Out Against Payment Apps

In early 2024, a letter was sent to the owners of CashApp, Zelle and Venmo from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. In this letter, they called for stronger protections for consumers. This call to action was prompted by the increase of fraud claims involving payment apps between 2020 and 2022. In this time frame, fraud claims tripled and costs users hundreds of millions in losses.

How To Protect Yourself From Scams When Using Payment Apps

  • Check your security settings in the app. Every app has different features so it’s important to choose the most stringent protections the app offers. Also, you should ensure that you keep the app up-to-date. Developers are frequently providing updates that offer the latest in security upgrades. If you don’t update your app, you may be missing out on the latest protections.
  • Enable biometric authentication. Authentication is all the rage right now, and that’s a great thing for users. The latest technology taking hold is biometric authentication. This involves confirming your identity by scanning your fingerprint or your face. If you enable this feature on an app, you are the only person that will be able to open the app. 
  • Don’t send money to people you don’t recognize. One of the largest scams involving payment apps is where scammers send requests for payment to unsuspecting users. These scammers may disguise themselves as a charity or even a friend or family member and request money from you. Even if you recognize the person, first verify that this is really them and that you want to send them money.
  • Never hand your phone to a stranger. Scammers have gotten extremely proficient at taking what they want. If a stranger asks to use your phone, and you oblige, they could open your payment app and transfer money to their account in a matter of moments. It’s best to keep your phone in your possession.
  • Review your transactions frequently. You should review the transactions section of your payment apps frequently so that you can quickly spot any unauthorized transactions. Another helpful feature you can take advantage of are notifications for new transactions. This will alert you immediately when a transaction occurs in your account.

Approximately 80% of Americans use mobile payment apps. Scammers recognize what an enormous market this is for them. Please use these tips to protect yourself from scams when using payment apps. Your bank account, credit score or credit report could take a huge hit if you don’t.

A Free Guide on How To Secure Your Identity & Protect Your Data