Protecting Yourself When Using P2P Payment Services

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Submitted By: The Lee County Sheriff’s Office

Are you a user of peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services like Venmo, Cash App, and/or Zelle?

If so, you probably enjoy the simplicity, convenience, and speed of transferring money with just a few taps on your smartphone.

While these contactless payment apps are “generally” safe, the truth is, these apps are the perfect payment method for online scammers. Unlike payments on a traditional credit or debit card, transferring money through these apps is not protected in the case of fraud or theft. Sadly, it’s almost impossible to get your money back once it’s been withdrawn from your bank account.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno wants to help you avoid becoming a victim of a P2P payment scam. Whether you are buying or selling an item online, participating in a hashtag sweepstake, or donating to a worthy cause, it’s important you follow these safety tips when using payment apps:

  • Never send P2P payments to – or accept payments from – someone you don’t know.
  • Be wary of any business that only accepts P2P payment apps or pre-paid debit card payments. Consider this a red flag.
  • Review the app’s fraud protection policies and understand whether and how you can recover funds if a problem arises.
  • Link your money transfer app to a credit card rather than a debit card or your bank account. A credit card provides added protection in case you do not receive the goods or services that you have purchased.
  • Always verify the recipient’s information before making any payment.
  • Always create strong, unique passwords and disable automatic logins.

If you think you’re a victim of a scam involving peer-to-peer payment apps, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. For concerns about P2P services, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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