Be Aware: Mobile Payment Scams

Mobile Payment App Scams

Mobile payment apps like Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle let you send and receive money through your smartphone. These apps allow you to make payments at stores and send money to people you know. Only send payments to people you trust. Verify and double-check the email address, phone number or username before confirming payment to ensure it is the intended receiver.


Scammers will use all kinds of stories to try and get you to send money to them.

  • You have won a prize or sweepstakes and need to pay some fees to collect your winnings
  • A loved one is in trouble and they need you to send them some money
  • You owe taxes to the IRS
  • Rental and pet deposit scams


Scammers want you to pay in a way that is quick and makes it hard for you to get your money back. That is why they will tell you to wire money or to pay them with reloadable cards or gift cards. Scammers may also tell you to send money through a mobile payment app.

If you get an unexpected email or text message that asks you to send money, do not click on any links. Log directly into the app to see if you have any requests for money. If you do not, the email or text is probably a phishing scam.


What to do if You do Send Money to a Scammer

If you sent money to a scammer, report the scam to the mobile payment app vendor and ask them to reverse the transaction right away

Then, report it to the Federal Trade Commission. When you report a scam, the FTC can use the information to build cases against scammers.