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Common Mobile Payment App Scams (And How To Protect Yourself)

Whether it's a fraudulent email/text, a phishing phone call, or deceptive website, scammers are constantly finding new ways to trick us into revealing our personal information or parting with our hard-earned money.

This article explores some of the most common scams that people encounter and provides you with valuable tips on how to protect yourself. By learning about these scams and understanding the warning signs, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to avoid becoming a victim.

1. Phishing Scams
Phishing happens when scammers use deception to trick you into revealing personal information. They will frequently reach out to their victims via texts, emails, and phone calls that can look or sound like an official alert. 

To avoid phishing scams:
  • Be wary of unexpected messages.
  • Avoid clicking on unusual links or URLs.
  • Never provide sensitive information to prompts from incoming texts, calls, or emails.  
  • Verify requests for information by contacting a representative through an official phone number or email address. 
 2.  Romance Scams
Romance scams are a type of long-form scam where scammers pretend to be romantic partners online to exploit their victims emotionally and financially. They create trust and what seems like a romantic connection before suddenly requesting money for travel, emergencies, or investment opportunities

To avoid romance scams:
  • Be skeptical of online relationships in which individuals become attached quickly and request financial assistance.
  • Avoid sharing sensitive information with those whom you have only recently met online.
  • Make an extra effort to further evaluate potential partners’ identities through social media and search engines. 
3.    Family Scams
Family scams target the trust and goodwill that keeps families and friend groups together. Scammers may impersonate a victim’s family member, close friend, or even a kidnapper, utilizing that emotional bond to manipulate them into paying. 

To avoid family scams:
  • If a request for emergency funds comes through, call that family member in question through their known phone number, or a different method of communication.
  • Fraudsters put pressure on potential victims to coerce them into acting quickly. Be cautious of urgent requests for money and take your time before sending funds.
  • Educate your family on this kind of scam and set up a verbal password for emergencies.
Bottom line: Always be cautious when sending money through mobile payment services—be as careful as you would be when sending cash. Once a payment is sent, it cannot be cancelled. When in doubt, it’s worth taking a pause to protect your personal and financial information.

Have you sent money to a scammer? Here’s what to do.
If you see unauthorized payments on your accounts, or you think you may have paid a scammer, immediately report that activity to:

Apple Bank’s Dispute Intake Team

Speak to a representative by calling (800) 216-6985.

You can also contact the following federal agencies:
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

By reporting your scam to the FTC, you can help law enforcement investigate and pursue cases against fraud, scams and bad business practices. 

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 

You can report cybercrime directly to the FBI through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)