Our fraud team is behind the scenes and on the front lines protecting our customers from criminal attempts to take their money. We will continue to inform our community, regardless of where you bank, about what we are experiencing to prevent more innocent victims from unintentionally losing money.
The only way to prevent criminals from stealing money out of our communities is to empower you with knowledge of how it works. Together we can.
The most frequent we are seeing today is with Zelle.
First – What is Zelle?
Zelle is a peer-to-peer payment system; the tech world calls them P2P. Similar P2Ps are Venmo and Google Pay. P2P allows you to electronically transfer cash from your bank account or debit card directly to a friend or family member’s P2P account.
If you are both set up within Zelle, you can pay each other without exchanging cash or check. It’s quite secure and encrypts transfers that we support, which is why we offer it as a complementary banking tool within your online and mobile banking.
It is very convenient to pay the babysitter, split the check after your friend pays, send the grandkids’ birthday cash, or any situation to make it easy.
The concern we have and are addressing today is when criminal outsiders use Zelle as the means to steal your cash from you voluntarily.
Here are recent and continued attempts we’ve seen and worked with a handful of customers to try and recover – and what is gut-wrenching is with the sophistication of these scams – transfers get completed fast, and they’re long gone.
Not cool, so let’s cover the scams and what you can do to help us say – not here. Not in our town. No.
Current Active Scam Alert #1
Strangers are approaching customers and posing as service providers, selling items online in marketplaces, or pretending to be an online love interest and requesting to have money sent to them through Zelle.
Our customers are then following their instructions on where and how to send it, losing their money once the transfer occurs.
Current Active Scam Alert #2
Criminals are masking their phone number to say Richwood Bank on our customers’ cell phones and pretend to be our bankers, asking you to give them your login and password to your online banking.
Once they gain access to your online banking portal, they quickly go to the Zelle section and transfer money out of the account to an untraceable path of accounts in big banks out of state and offshore.
Key nuggets to remember:
- Zelle is a peer-to-peer cash exchange. If you do not know the other person or have not physically ever met them, be wary. Our local customers have made new ‘friends’ through social media and phone calls. These ‘new friends’ manipulate and take advantage of their caring personalities and bank account balances. It’s, sadly, an emotional scam that professional criminals learn to master with smooth-talking and false promises.
- If a private party you’ve not worked with before tries to get you to purchase from them through Zelle before any prior exchange, reconsider; this is a typical scenario that isn’t real. The money is released, and they run with it.
- Real businesses have other forms of official payment exchange.
- Don’t prepay for anything you’re buying online or through a resale deal until you have received what you purchased or are satisfied with the service quoted.
- Once your money releases through Zelle, it is highly likely we cannot recover it for you.
- Richwood Bank staff company-wide will NEVER call and ask you for your login or password. Ever. It’s not what we do. We have identity questions we ask you solely to validate you are you before we discuss accounts with you. It is for your protection. Believe us- the criminals try to call us too.