The digital payments app Zelle recently announced that it will be offering refunds to customers who fell victim to fraudulent activities in the past. This move comes after an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission revealed the existence of imposter scams, wherein scammers would impersonate someone known to the victim and request money via Zelle.
Since launching in 2017, Zelle has transformed the payments landscape, allowing people to send and receive digital payments without paying traditional fees or waiting several days for transactions to settle. Unfortunately, this technology has also opened the door for scammers to impersonate family, friends, and businesses, and then con people out of their money.
In a statement, Zelle said it will be “offering reimbursement to customers who were victims of scams reported prior to December 2020.” The company specified that any refunds requested after December 2, 2020, would be subject to the terms and conditions of their Refunds Policy.
As with any financial service, clients should take extra precautions when sending and receiving payments through Zelle. The company advises its customers to be wary of requests that don’t make sense and/or come out of the blue, stating, “If it seems off, it likely is”. Zelle also recommends that customers never send money to someone they don’t know or trust.
The initiation of refunds comes at a time when the use of payment apps is on the rise. According to a recent report, 80 percent of Americans are using digital payments due to the pandemic, and that number is likely to keep climbing as more people become comfortable with digital services.
For customers who have been scammed, this announcement is a welcome step in the right direction for financial security and consumer protection. While scammers may still lurk on payment apps, taking precautionary measures, such as getting to know and trust the earliest requests, will go a long way in avoiding financial harm.