Bank App Scams on the Rise: What to Watch For

Bank App Scams on the Rise: What to Watch For


If you use a banking app like Zelle or PayPal, scammers are out to get you. This isn’t personal, or anything, you just have money and they want that cash. Online banking is fast and convenient, but it sadly can open you up to scammers if you’re not careful.

Here are a few tips to help you steer clear of scammers and keep your money safe and sound in your bank account. If you follow this advice, it should be tough for any mean-spirited scammer to get their hands on your cash.

Never Transfer Money “To Yourself”

A common scam that criminals employ online involves tricking you into transfering money “to youself.” In reality, they’ve set up a fake account that looks like yours and initiated a transaction to make you think that you’ve already been the victim of a scam.

The way this scheme works is by having the scammers contact you and suggest that you’ve already been the victim of fraudulent activity. In order to stop it, they say, you need to transfer money from your account back in “to yourself”. In reality, you’re just giving your money away to a scammer.

Account Upgrades

Some scammers use a tricky scheme involving an “account upgrade” to fool victims into forking over cash. They’ll allege that you need to upgrade your Zelle or PayPal account in order to complete a transaction, leaving you in an awkward situation where you can’t complete a sale you’re trying to finish up without paying upwards of $1,000.

This kind of scheme should be easy to spot. Zelle and PayPal won’t email you to ask for payment for an account upgrade in the form of gift cards. Moreover, if you ever receive “official” correspondence from a bank that has strange grammar and a tone of urgency, you’re looking at a scam email.


Perhaps the most straightforward–and pernicious–form of bank fraud is old-fashioned phishing. Picture this: you get a text message from a number purporting to be Zelle support and asking if you authorized a $3,000 purchased just now. In a panic, you text back to say no. Now you’re in their web, and you’re about to lose a lot of money.

These scammers will pretend they need your login information to help clear up the fraudulent activity. In reality, they’re just about to drain your bank account. The best way to handle these texts is to discard them. If you’re the victim of genuine fraud, your bank will reach out to you through official channels and won’t ask for things like your login credentials.