As mobile payment apps/services like Venmo or Zelle® become more popular due to its quick and convenient way to send money, it’s also become another target for scammers.

Whether it’s repaying a friend for concert tickets or sending money to a handyman or babysitter, electronic payments like these have reduced the reliance on cash and checks.

But with several news reports questioning the safety and security of Zelle®, we wanted to shed a spotlight on key things you should know about Zelle®, including several measures FirstBank has implemented to help prevent our customers from falling victim to mobile payment scams.

Less Fraud and Scams with Zelle®?

According to a letter written by the American Bankers Association (ABA), which evaluated fraud and scam reports over the past five years and across several mobile payment platforms (PayPal, Venmo, Zelle®, and Cash App), Zelle® accounted for the least amount of fraud. In fact, according to a 2022 press release from Early Warning®, the network operator of Zelle®, 99.9% of the 5 billion Zelle® transactions processed in the past five years were sent without any report of fraud or scams.

The ABA performed a search of 2,954,837 consumer complaints reported on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database which showed the below matches for fraud and scam reports:

  • 18,797 matches for PayPal
  • 783 matches for Venmo
  • 656 matches for Cash App
  • 565 matches for Zelle®

As FirstBank partners with Zelle®, we always encourage our customers to only send money to people they know and trust.

FirstBank’s Preventative Measures for Fraud/Theft:

  • Our notification system is robust. It notifies customers every time they add a new recipient to their Zelle® payment system and every time a payment is sent.
  • If fraud does occur, FirstBank has instituted research-based sending limits to reduce the amount of money that could be affected.
  • Through the FirstBank Mobile App, we’ve paired biometrics and digital certificates to protect our customers and ensure unauthorized persons don’t access their account.
  • Additionally, we require security verification every time customers login to their account from an unrecognized device.
  • Our Fraud department is also actively monitoring accounts 24 hours a day.

What if You Send Money to the Wrong Recipient with Zelle®?

Sometimes, payments are accidentally sent to the wrong contact in error. In many instances, the unintended recipient is someone our customer has an existing relationship with, so they are willing to return the money.

Keep in mind, you can’t cancel a payment once it’s been sent if the recipient is already enrolled in Zelle®. If the refund cannot be solved between both parties, FirstBank handles them on a case-by-case situation.

If you may have sent money to the wrong recipient and cannot get the money back, please call us at 1-800-964-3444.

How To Avoid Theft, Fraud and Scams:

  • Ensure your recipient’s phone and email information is correct and updated prior to sending any money with Zelle®.
  • If you aren’t sure, you will receive the goods or service, do not send the money. This includes using Zelle® to make purchases through third-party websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Keep an eye on your accounts. In addition to the notifications, we send out when recipients are added or sent money with Zelle®, you can also enroll in Online Banking* alerts to be notified by email or text.
  • Do not provide sensitive account information over the phone or via email when unsolicited and avoid clicking on any suspicious links from unfamiliar sources.

Check out 5 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft and What to Do If You’re a Victim

Your financial health is important to us. That’s why we strive to provide the most up-to-date tools and resources to help keep your money safe.

Learn more by visiting our Fraud Protection page at and read more ways to help guard yourself against fraud at

*Online Banking is free with eStatements. $3 per month with paper statements. Online Banking is required to use mobile and online products.

Zelle®: U.S. checking or savings account required to use Zelle®. Transactions between enrolled consumers typically occur in minutes.

Zelle® and the Zelle® related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.

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