Pretending to be Someone They're Not: Avoiding Mobile Payment App Fraud
Scammers are becoming savvy in this digital era, finding new ways into the pockets of individuals. Mobile payment apps like Georgia United's Pay a Person (P2P) allow you to send money quickly to your friends and family using a phone number or email address. As consumers have become more comfortable using these services, scammers are taking advantage of the instant access to money and anonymity that mobile payment apps provide.
With new, sophisticated scams and abilities to defeat two-step authentication, these tactics are becoming harder to spot but not impossible.
Here are a couple of common scams:
- Scammers appearing as your financial institution send account alerts via text message about card transactions. Following a text message, fraudsters will call you spoofing department phone numbers misleading you into verifying
your identity and providing usernames or passwords to your Online & Mobile Banking. Once they have this information, they can access your account, change passwords to lock you out and use P2P to transfer funds out of your accounts. Without
exception, don't share your password or username to your account.
- Impersonating a company is a scam where fraudsters pretend to be a service provider like a utility company, managing to provide an alternate phone number to contact individuals. By impersonating company personnel and claiming they did not receive payment for service, fraudsters manipulate and scare you into transferring funds to avoid service disconnection. A company that asks you to pay an overdue bill or service via a money transfer app is almost certainly scamming you.
- Refund scams occur when fraudsters impersonate a company or agency to contact you offering services to help you get your money back. Scammers may claim remote access to your device is required to start the refund process, allowing them to download programs for backdoor access. Once they have taken you through a fake process to refund your money, scammers can gain access to your account, change the password and lock you out of your account. In some cases, a fraudster impersonating an organization may inform you that the information shouldn't be discussed with anyone, including other financial center employees. They may even tell you precisely what to state if asked questions when you speak with someone in your financial institution.
To protect your account, remember:
- Don’t panic: Know how to identify suspicious requests, if you receive a call from someone claiming they’re personnel from a company, contact the company directly for verification.
- Be mindful: Fraudsters can falsify the information transmitted on your caller ID. If you don't recognize the number or the number appears to be legitimate, please be cautious of suspicious requests from the caller.
- Verify the source: Always verify the sender's email address, confirm the email is from an official domain and never click on available links through unsolicited or unknown emails. Instead, go to the source website and log in there. Any updates needed for an account should be seen through that account. The phone number and email address associated with the company are typically listed on its website, paper mail or mobile app.
- Report unauthorized activity: Report financial crimes and fraudulent activity to your financial institution, making sure we are aware of the issue.
- Customize how you send money: Create a custom security question for the recipient to answer. If it's the first time you're sending a payment to someone, the recipient will receive an email or text with a link to answer the security question.
- Set up account alerts: Stay in the know and get notified when account activity occurs by setting alerts through Online Banking. Stay attentive by always looking out for transactions you did not conduct or authorize on your account.
If you suspect fraudulent activity on your account, call 888.493.4328. Maintaining the security of your personal and financial information is our top priority. Remember that Georgia United will never call, email or text you to request your account password or PIN. Never share your account information or online credentials with anyone. Members victimized by money transfer service scams should immediately report it to IC3.gov or call the fraud hotline at 833.fraud.1.
Source: CUNA Mutual Group. (2022). P2P Fraud cunamutual.com
The information in this article is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. Please discuss your particular circumstances with an appropriate professional before taking action.