FBI warns El Pasoans to beware of peer-to-peer payment scams

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Cyber criminals are capitalizing on the ease and convenience of payment apps like Venmo, Zelle and CashApp.

According to the FBI, the nation is experiencing a rise in fraud pursuant to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As Americans grow more comfortable using these apps, scammers have adapted their tactics to take advantage of the quick and often anonymous access to cash they provide,” said Cyber Special Agent Alex Bustillos of the FBI’s El Paso Division.

Bustillos said that data shows people around the country are using peer-to-peer payment apps more frequently because it is a convenient form of contactless payment transactions. 

The FBI warns that although most payment apps protect against unauthorized transactions, most do not offer protection against other forms of fraud, even if a user’s account is linked to a debit or credit card.

If a person accidentally sends money to the wrong user or realizes they’re the victim of a scam, there is little recourse. 

Some scammers commit fraud by tricking people into sending money under the guise of charity work, and request that a person send a donation using a peer-to-peer payment app. 

“Always check the charity’s website to verify that they accept donations through that app,” advises Bustillos. 

To protect yourself from fraud, the FBI says to always check an app’s privacy information under its terms and conditions. 

If you’ve been the victim of a cyber scam, report it here.

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