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New Zelle Scams Incorporate Utility Bill Payments!

Fraudsters continue to evolve scams associated with Zelle by introducing urgency to
pay supposed delinquent utility bills to avoid service being discontinued.

There are numerous reports of scammers calling, emailing, and/or texting individuals
claiming to be from their utility company using look-alike phone numbers. The
scammer states that they did not receive payment for their utility bill and their service
will be turned off. However, if they use Zelle to send funds to the company immediately their
services will continue.

Faced with urgency of service disconnection from utility companies (e.g., electricity,
water, etc.), the individuals agree to make the Zelle payment, before thinking of the
potential ramifications. In some cases, the fraudsters even have Spanish speaking people
posing as utility employees to assist with those that do not speak English.

The use of Zelle and other P2P services has increased in the last several years. Zelle
happens to be one of the most popular P2P platforms used by credit unions, but other
P2P applications are not immune to fraud.

Beware of Credit Fraudsters! Keep Your Identity Secure!

Fraudsters have become increasingly adept at getting cardholders to share the information they need to commit fraud by posing as financial institution call center agents or by sending text messages that look like they are coming from the institution, warning of suspicious transaction activities.

The fraudsters use personally identifiable information (PII) they have stolen through data breaches or malware programs deployed on personal computers combined with stolen card information, which gives them sufficient information to pose as the actual cardholder.

Here are a few important tips to remember:

  • Your financial institution will never call you to request information you received via text (SMS) or pressure you to reset your online banking log in password
  • Don’t trust caller ID; Caller ID may be modified to show your financial institution’s name
  • Don’t provide your online banking log in credentials, one-time password, account number or personal information by email or text or phone call. Using their published phone number, reach out to your financial institution to confirm that the request is legitimate
  • Don’t give information over the phone if you receive a call stating that a transaction is canceled, even if the caller claims to be from your financial institution. Once again, contact your financial institution using a published phone number to inquire about the transaction
  • Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails or texts
  • Don’t give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer