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Exclusive: How Zelle Scams Work, and How to Protect Your Money



How Zelle Scams Work, and How to Protect Your Money

#Zelle #Scams #Work #Protect #Money

Burdun Iliya/

Zelle is one of the most popular financial platforms of its kind, so it’s no surprise that the platform has been made a target for scammers. Here’s what to look out for and how to avoid a nasty surprise.

What Is Zelle?

Zelle is a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service that makes it easy to send money from one bank account to another. The service is (at the time of writing) only available in the US, having been set up by some of the country’s largest financial institutions.

The fact that Zelle charges users no fees to send money has seen the service grow hugely in popularity over the last few years. All you need to use it is a bank account with a participating financial institution and the Zelle app for iPhone or Android. Some banking apps already have Zelle integration, which makes it particularly easy to send or receive money online.

The approachability and growth of Zelle as a service means it’s easy to set up and use, but this has also attracted scammers. Fortunately, most of the scams that target Zelle users are nothing new and should be easy to spot.

Zelle Scammers Use Fake Text Messages and Calls

Zelle scams mostly rely on social engineering, where a scammer builds trust so that the target will send money willingly. Similar scams have plagued banks and older payment services like PayPal for years.

One of the most common scams starts with a fake text message that requests approval for a pending transaction or issues a warning about fraudulent activity on an account. When users interact with the message (usually texting back “no” as instructed) they receive a phone call from what seems to be a legitimate financial organization. Scammers can spoof phone numbers so that the number that’s calling appears to match up with a bank or credit union.

From here, the scam takes a turn. Targets are informed that a thief is trying to empty their bank account and that they need to transfer money back into their account to be safe. Ideal targets do not already use Zelle, which provides would-be scammers the opportunity to link their bank accounts to a target’s phone number. To do this, the scammer will walk the target through the two-factor authentication process and ask them to read out the verification code that’s sent to the victim’s phone.

With the victim’s phone number attached to the fraudster’s account, the scammer will then initiate the final stage of the scam: getting the victim to send money to their own phone number. Since the phone number is now associated with the scammer, the money is finally leaving the target’s account. Scammers will often try the same trick multiple times, requesting repeat transactions to “recover” lost funds.

The scam mostly affects those who don’t already use Zelle, who don’t have a tech-savvy background, and who believe that there’s no way sending money to their personal phone number could play into the hands of a scammer.


Online Sellers May Also Fall Victim

In another example of a scam that used Zelle, TikTok user Tarek Ali (@itstarekali) was scammed also by way of a fake email. The social media user explained how they listed some camera gear on Facebook Marketplace after which someone started enquiring about the item. The supposed buyer asked for videos to appear legitimate and requested that an additional lens be included for a total of $770.

The scammer sent a fake Zelle confirmation email, stating that Tarik had received the money. Instead of checking whether the money cleared into their account, Tarik suspected nothing and sent the camera to the buyer. They then requested an additional payment for the shipping fee. The scammer sent another follow-up email claiming that Tarik was unable to receive money due to having a “personal” account.


#greenscreen I deserve it 😂😂😂 cause why didn’t I check my Zelle

♬ original sound – Tarek Ali

The scammer claimed that they would need to send an additional $400 to Tarik which must then be sent back to “upgrade” the account. Upon looking for the contact in their Zelle account, Tarik noticed that the supposed buyer wasn’t listed. Tarik then checked their “confirmation email” payment summary carefully and noticed it was from a webmail provider posing as Zelle, rather than Zelle itself.

The scam is older than time, but with more users than ever partaking in the peer-to-peer payment economy, there are more potential victims out there than ever before. It’s a scam that plays out daily on Facebook Marketplace, and it’s one reason you should ideally only sell items to local in-person buyers over Facebook.

RELATED: 10 Facebook Marketplace Scams to Watch Out For

Never Pay an “Outstanding Bill” Using Zelle

Zelle is an online payment system so it’s open to most other forms of scams that plague such services. One of the more prevalent schemes among fraudsters involves requesting payment for utility bills and other outstanding charges. Zelle has been used for this purpose, as have iTunes gift cards.

There’s one simple rule you can follow to avoid disappointment: if a company is chasing an outstanding payment using a peer-to-peer payment service like Zelle or Venmo, you’re being targeted by a scammer.

A Netflix scam text message

Some companies allow you to pay bills using a service like PayPal, but most offer multiple payment methods. If you ever suspect foul play when a company is chasing a bill, you can always state this over the phone. Call the company directly using a number listed on their website, rather than complying with any requests from cold callers.

This is true even if you recognize the number. Phone numbers can be spoofed, so even if the number looks legitimate it may still be a scam.

RELATED: PSA: Don’t Trust Caller ID — It Can Be Faked


Banks Might Not Help Victims of Such Scams

If you’re caught in a scam that had you “willingly” transfer money to another account, there’s a good chance your bank won’t help. You won’t be covered by the usual protections that apply to credit card and online payment fraud, where cards are cloned or details skimmed from a website. Many banks argue that because you have authorized the payment, it’s technically not fraud.

Despite this, social engineering is one of the biggest causes of money and data loss in the world today. Building a rapport with their victims allows scammers to prey on the trusting nature of an individual, and this impacts everything from trade secrets to personal bank accounts.

Even if you suspect your bank will refuse to help, you should always contact them to notify them that you believe you have been scammed. In the case of a Zelle scam that attaches your number to an account that isn’t yours, they will help you reclaim your number for future use. They may be able to reverse transactions, reimburse you, or conduct anti-fraud investigations.

You should also contact local law enforcement using non-emergency numbers or online forms to report the scam. This may help bring the perpetrators to justice, but you shouldn’t hold too high hope of getting your money back this way.

Avoiding Online Scams

If you use the internet or have a phone number, you’ve almost certainly encountered a scam of some kind. While most are easy to spot, scammers cast a wide net so that they only need a few bites for their schemes to pay off. Familiarize yourself with the most common online scams including SMS-based smishing attacks, calls from phone numbers that look suspiciously similar to your own, fake job recruiters, or classic phishing scams that prey on product scarcity and impulse purchases.

RELATED: Scam Alert: Fake Job Recruiters Tried to Catfish Us, Here’s What Happened


Exclusive: 'Cryptoqueen' Lands a Spot On the FBI's Most Wanted List –




'Cryptoqueen' Lands a Spot On the FBI's Most Wanted List

#039Cryptoqueen039 #Lands #Spot #FBI039s #Wanted #List

Ruja Ignatova standing with a microphone to her lips.

Ruja Ignatova, the once-founder of OneCoin, is now on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted.
Screenshot: FBI Video

Ruja Ignatova, who in the past dubbed herself the “Cryptoqueen,” is now sitting with a fancy crown in a new royal court: the FBI’s top 10 most wanted.

FBI officials and federal prosecutors announced Ignatova’s new designation in a press conference Thursday. Ignatova was charged in 2019 with wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering for her part in the OneCoin crypto company that prosecutors alleged was just a ponzi scheme.

Michael Driscoll, the FBI’s assistant director-in-charge for New York declined to answer Reuters’ questions whether they had any leads, but said Ignatova “left with a tremendous amount of cash,” adding, “money can buy a lot of friends.”

Ignatova was part of a Bulgaria-based crypto company called OneCoin. The company claimed they were performing a regular crypto mining operation—generating new tokens added to a blockchainand pumped out $3.78 billion in revenue from the end of 2014 to the middle of 2016. But despite the upward momentum, investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice reported that OneCoin’s value was rigged internally, that the coins were essentially worthless, and users could not even trace ownership of the coins. The DOJ alleged those at the head of the company made nearly $2.5 billion in profit that they squirreled away in company bank accounts.

Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, told reporters Ignatova capitalized “on the frenzied speculation of the early days of cryptocurrency.”

In an FBI-provided video of Ignatova speaking at a London company event dated June, 2016, Ignatova boasted about her two million active users, adding “no other cryptocurrency has as many users as we do,”


Bloomberg reported that after Ignatov grew suspicious that the feds were onto her, she fled to Greece and then investigators lost track of her.

In 2019, the U.S. unsealed an indictment against Ignatov, charging her with the previously mentioned litany of financial crimes. That same year, Konstantin Ignatova, one of OneCoin’s founders and Ruja’s brother, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Konstantin managed to get a plea deal, and though his sentencing was set for May 13, his attorneys adjourned the date for 90 days so he could further cooperate with authorities.

The Cryptoqueen has evaded police custody and remains at large to this day. So, the FBI says it’ll pay up to a $100,000 reward for any info that leads to an arrest.

In addition, U.S. prosecutors previously convicted former corporate lawyer Mark Scott of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud for laundering around $400 million for the company. Ruja Ignatov testified against Scott at his trial. Scott is contesting his guilty verdict by claiming Ruja lied on the stand, according to Bloomberg.

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Exclusive: How To Put Your iPhone or iPad Into Recovery Mode –




How To Put Your iPhone or iPad Into Recovery Mode

#Put #iPhone #iPad #Recovery #Mode

Apple makes some of the most long-lived mobile devices out there — iPhones and iPads basically just keep on ticking. Nothing is perfect, though, and sometimes things do go wrong. Here’s how you can enter Recovery Mode to fix your device.

Reinstalling iOS on your iPhone or iPad always runs the risk of wiping your data, so it is prudent to make frequent backups on your computer via iTunes, or with iCloud. That said, here’s how you boot your iPhone, iPod, or iPad into Recovery Mode.

Make Sure You Have the Latest iTunes Version

First, you’ll need to make sure you’re using the latest version of iTunes. It comes pre-installed on Macs, and is available for Windows on Apple’s website and in the Microsoft Store.

After it is installed, open up iTunes, click the “Help” tab, then click “Check for Updates.”

If there is an update available for iTunes it should be downloaded and installed immediately. If it fails — or you otherwise have reason to think it isn’t updating properly — you can always redownload the installer from the Apple website if you’re running Windows, or check for updates in the App Store if you’re running macOS. That’ll ensure you’re using the most recent version of iTunes.

With that out of the way, you’re ready to get started. The rest of the procedure varies slightly depending on what device you’re using, so we’ll go over them one at a time.

Entering Recovery Mode on the iPhone 8 or Later

All iPhones manufactured since 2017 have used the same method to access recovery mode. As of June 2022, the included models are:

  • iPhone 8, and 8 Plus
  • iPhone X, XR, XS, and XS Max
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (Second and Third Generations)
  • iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max

Press and release the volume up button, then press and release the volume down button, and then hold the power button until the recovery mode screen pops up. It won’t happen instantly, so hang on for at least 15 seconds or so before you try it again.

Hit the volume up button, then the volume down button, and then hold the power button until the recovery mode screen appears.

Once the recovery mode screen appears you can plug your phone into your computer with a Lightning cable.


Entering Recovery Mode on the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus

If you’re using an iPhone 7, 7 Plus, or the 7th generation iPod start by turning off your phone. Then hold the volume down button and the power button simultaneously until the recovery screen appears. You’ll see the Apple logo first, but don’t release the button when you do — that is still too early.

Hold the volume down button and the power button simultaneously until the recovery screen appears.

It’ll look very similar to this:

iPhone prompting the user to plug in the cable.

Once that screen appears, go ahead and connect your device to your computer via Lightning cable.

How to Enter Recovery Mode on the iPhone 6s or Earlier

These instructions cover how to access Recovery Mode on the iPhone 6s and earlier models, including:

  • iPhone
  • iPhone 3G and 3Gs
  • iPhone 4 and 4S
  • iPhone 5, 5C and 5S
  • iPhone 6, 6S, 6 Plus, and 6S Plus
  • iPhone SE (First Generation)

First, make sure your device is turned off. Then all you need to do is hold the power button and the Home button simultaneously. Hang on to the buttons until the Recovery Mode screen appears. It will take a few seconds — the Recovery Mode screen isn’t accessible instantly to prevent people from opening it accidentally.

Press the power button and the Home button simultaneously.

Note: The power button is on the side for iPhone 6 or later users, and on the top right for iPhone 5s and earlier.

After the Recovery mode screen appears, go ahead and connect the phone to your computer.

How to Enter Recovery Mode on iPads with Home Buttons

Some iPads in Apple’s current lineup — like the iPad 10.2 — have retained their home buttons, and most iPads made prior to 2018 had home buttons.

If your iPad has a home button, all you need to do to enter Recovery Mode is press and hold the Home button and the power button simultaneously for 10-15 seconds, just like older iPhones.

Hold the power button and the Home button simultsneously.

The Recovery Mode screen will appear and you’ll be prompted to plug your iPad into your Mac or Windows PC.

How to Enter Recovery Mode on iPads without a Home Button

Most new iPads don’t have Home buttons anymore — most iPad models transitioned away from it between 2017 and 2018. If your iPad doesn’t have a Home button, the process for entering Recovery Mode is basically the same as all of the newer iPhones.

Press and release the volume button closest to the power button, then press and release the farther button, and then press and hold the power button until the recovery screen appears.

There are a couple of different button configurations you’ll find on iPads, though. If your iPad has the volume buttons along the top, it’ll look like this for you:


Press and release the nearest volume button to the power button, then press the farther button, then hold the power button until the Recovery Mode screen appears.

iPads with the volume buttons on the sides follow the same basic procedure: press and release the top volume button, then the bottom volume button, and then hold the power button. Wait for the Recovery Mode screen to appear, and then release the button.

Press and release the volume up button, then the volume down button, and then hold the power button until the Recovery Mode screen pops up,

The Recovery Mode screen will display a cable connecting to the iPad — once that appears, connect your iPad to your computer.

iPad recovery mode.

What to Do Once You’re in Recovery Mode

Now that your device is in Recovery Mode, you have about 15 minutes before it automatically exits. If you don’t move quickly enough and your phone exits Recovery Mode, repeat the same button presses as explained above to enter it again.

A window like the one below will pop up on your computer once you’ve successfully entered Recovery Mode on your phone or tablet. You will be prompted to Restore or Update.

You should try the “Update” option first. Your issues may very well be fixed by updating your iPhone or iPad without completely reinstalling your operating system. The “Update” option preserves all of your files and settings, which will — at a minimum — save you time and effort setting everything up again. It’ll also save you from losing anything you neglected to back up.

A notice from iTunes informing the user that an update or restore is necessary.

If the “Update” option fails, you’ll need to go back to the Recovery Mode screen again, just like you did before. This time you’ll have to hit “Restore.” It isn’t ideal, but it may very well be the only way to fix your iPhone or iPad.

RELATED: How to Back Up Your iPhone With iTunes (and When You Should)

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Exclusive: Meta warns employees of ‘serious times’ in internal memo listing key product bets –




Meta’s Giphy acquisition will likely stay blocked after UK appeals court ruling

#Meta #warns #employees #times #internal #memo #listing #key #product #bets

Meta is warning of “serious times” and preparing for a leaner second half of 2022, according to an internal memo circulated to employees this week. The note comes from chief product officer Chris Cox and outlines the company’s priorities and challenges to its business going forward.

“I have to underscore that we are in serious times here and the headwinds are fierce,” Cox wrote in the memo obtained by The Verge and published in full below. “We need to execute flawlessly in an environment of slower growth, where teams should not expect vast influxes of new engineers and budgets.”

The biggest revenue challenge comes from privacy changes affecting Meta’s ad business and macroeconomic pressures, Cox says in the memo, which was first reported by Reuters. Cox says monetizing Reels, the company’s short-form video TikTok copy, “as quickly as possible” is a key priority.

Cox also lays out six areas where he believes Facebook needs to deepen its investments. These include metaverse products; AI; messaging; continuing to push Reels; monetization; and meeting new privacy requirements. Cox says teams will have to “prioritize more ruthlessly” without the help of new staff or budgets.

Meta had already told employees that a slowdown was coming. In May, the company froze hiring across a number of teams, including teams working on shopping and video chatting products. The company’s stock has cratered over the past five months, as investors worry about slowing growth and expensive investments in the metaverse that may take years to pay off. Meta didn’t have a comment for this story.

Read the full memo below:

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