CHARLOTTE — For months, Channel 9 has been warning people about scams involving the popular money app, Zelle.
Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke tries to help everyone who contacts him to get their issues resolved and their money back. It’s usually a long shot, but sometimes it works out.
Both Kris Leagan and Cynthia Lucas contacted Stoogenke because they each recently lost $3,500 in Zelle scams.
Both victims bank with Wells Fargo, so Stoogenke contacted the company. A spokesperson told him the bank would look into their cases and that it was “working to raise awareness of common scams to help prevent these heartbreaking incidents.”
A few weeks later, both Lucas and Leagan emailed Stoogenke, saying Wells Fargo replaced their money.
“I was so overjoyed that I didn’t even really know how to react,” Leagan said. “I jumped up and just kept saying, ‘Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh,’ so it was a really good thing.”
It’s not clear what got the situation resolved — their persistence, Stoogenke’s involvement, or the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, a federal law Action 9 has reported on in the past.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Regulation E of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act says if someone induced you into transferring the money, even if you agreed to it, your bank has to reimburse you. But many banks do not provide reimbursements.
Cyber-security analyst and Duke University lecturer Bob Sullivan says someone needs to clarify the law. Until then, “Consumers shouldn’t count on getting their money back from banks who think they have this get out of jail free card essentially,” Sullivan said.
People in the financial world told Stoogenke this is how the scam works:
– Scammers get your account information (possibly from a data breach, or you clicked on a link you shouldn’t have).
– They still need a two-factor authentication code to gain access your account, so that’s when the acting starts.
– The scammer will pose as your bank and send you a text saying your account may have been compromised. They’ll follow up with a phone call.
– Then they will log into your account or have you log in.
– Logging in will trigger the two-factor authentication.
– They’ll ask for the code you receive so they can help resolve the issue.
– Once they get the code, they’ll have access to your account.
Action 9 Advice
– Don’t fall for the text or phone call.
– Scammers can spoof your bank’s number, so don’t trust your Caller ID.
– Don’t give them the authentication code.
Zelle and the Banks’ Response to Scams
Zelle has information here about the scams on its platform.
The American Bankers Association has this public service campaign.
(WATCH BELOW: ‘Kicked me in my gut’: Eight people fall for Zelle scam in less than 2 weeks)
©2022 Cox Media Group