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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How to Stay Safe Using Cashless Payment Apps

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app usage has been on the rise over the past couple of years, especially with younger smartphone users. These apps let you send money to friends and family instantly for things like meals, shared bills, or even paying merchants who use these apps to collect money from customers. If you're not familiar Peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App work differently than other forms of digital commerce. They are like using cash rather than a debit card. The great thing about these apps is they are easy to use and offer a good deal of security. secure to use. Though these apps can be secure, doesn't mean you can't fall into the clutches of a cyber crook. If you want to stay safe using these apps, follow these tips.

You're probably familiar with credit or debit card fraud which means your card information is compromised, and a crook uses your card number to purchase goods or services without your consent. P2P payment scams work a little differently as they are focused on tricking you into sending money to someone you don't know. Credit card companies have sophisticated systems to detect fraud, and electronic payment processing for cards allows them time to stop fraud before the funds are transferred. However, money can be hard to recover on P2P apps because, most of the time, you agree to send the money.

Here are some scams to watch out for:

  • Impersonation. Scammers will call or text to trick you into believing they are your financial institution, the P2P platform, or some government agency like the police or IRS. A bank impersonator may report suspicious activity and ask you to send money to verify your account or test if your account is working correctly.

  • Phishing. Phishing is a similar tactic to impersonation scams, but instead, the fraudster is trying to get you to share a verification code, your password, or other sensitive information. T hese communications usually have a time-sensitive element or say your account will be locked if you don’t respond.

  • Unauthorized Money Transfers. This occurs when a criminal logs into your account and transfers money without your permission. They gain access to your account with your credentials they found on the dark web.

  • Fake Product or Service. This scam involves selling you something from an online store where the seller asks you to transfer money for the purchase, and after you do, they disappear without providing that product or service.

  • The ‘Accidental’ Transfer. This scam involves someone “accidentally” transferring you funds that were meant for someone else. Or you may be selling a product or service, and they overpay you by check or transfer. Then, the scammer will ask you to send the money back to them.Later, you will find the money transfer was from a stolen or fake account, or the check doesn’t clear

To make sure you don't fall for scams, follow these tips ti help keep your money and information safe from P2P scams.

Transfer Funds to Your Bank Account Regularly. Many people who use P2P apps keep their money on these apps exclusively, but you need to use a traditional bank with these apps.

Most payment apps do not provide the same protections as a bank account backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That means that if the app goes belly up, there’s no guarantee you can recover your funds.

Choose the Most Restrictive Privacy and Security Settings for the app and your phone.

If you use a payment app, make sure you set up two-factor authentication and public transaction sharing. Then, choose a unique password and opt to lock your phone after a short amount of time so if it gets stolen no one can get into the app.

Make Sure the User Name and Password to Your App isn't on the dark web. Crooks still use a method called 'credential stuffing' to see if passwords you've used in the past work for your cash apps. Use a combination of 'Have I Been Pwned' and a password manager to check to see if your information is on the dark web. If you find your credentials, change your information immediately.

Know Who You Are Sending Money To. It’s best to use P2P payment apps with people who you know personally. Do not send or accept payments from people you don’t know.

Check and Double-Check the Details. When sending money through a P2P platform, a missed digit can be the difference between paying your friend and sending money to a stranger, never to be seen again. So, double-check the phone number, account number, email, and other information, especially if you are sending money to a new recipient.

Hopefully, this will give you tips to help you stay safe when using a P2P Payment app. These apps have a good deal of security, but make sure you are taking additional steps to keep your account safe. If you have any questions,  If you have any questions, please reach out. I'm always available.

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