How scammers used Zelle to clean out one man's bank account

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Saturday, October 1, 2022
How Zelle scams work and how to protect yourself
It took just a few minutes of clever manipulation for scammers to clean out Marcas Miles' bank account using Zelle.

A man is sharing his story after he says his bank account was drained after receiving a text message that appeared to be from his bank.

"I was caught off guard, but I might as well have just walked out my front door and given all of my money to the first person that I saw," Marcas Miles told "Good Morning America."

The text he got simply read, "Did you attempt a $500 Zelle transfer?"

Zelle, a mobile payment transfer service embedded in your banking app, allows you to send money to people directly between bank accounts.

However, Miles said he hadn't attempted to send any money, so he was eager to speak with who he thought was his bank.

"I was convinced because he kept saying, 'Looks like someone is accessing your account from an IP address in Texas," said Miles. "Looking back - 16 minutes worth of manipulation and boy was he good."

Soon after the phone conversation, Miles then received a text to confirm his user name and login.

"Because I was getting a text, I actually was sending it back," he said.

Moments later, he said his account was empty.

Miles' story is one of many from across the country as Zelle scams become more frequent.

Lawmakers are now working to make these money transfers safer.

"Congress is considering a draft proposal to ensure that consumers who get induced into scams have protection and get their money replenished by the banking industry or whatever platform they've used," said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League.

Zelle has posted on its own TikTok reminding customers that its banks will never call for personal information because they already have it.

To learn more, visit Zelle's webpage on fraud and scams.