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FTC issues warning to military families about paying fraudsters with payment apps

It can be extremely difficult to recover money after hitting send on a payment app
Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 22, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — Digital payment apps on our phones allow us to send money to someone in just a matter of seconds, but federal investigators are sending an alert saying scammers are trying to cash in on that convenience, specifically targeting military families

”This day and age with digital payments it’s become so easy to scam people because of the convenience to just hit a button and buy it,” warned Michael Scheumack.

He spent four years serving in the military and now makes a living as a cybersecurity expert and Chief Innovation Officer at IdentityIQ.He says he understands why fraudsters are targeting military families, especially those moving to new places.

”They could be asked for rental deposits, they could be looking for furniture on Facebook marketplace even. So, during that process they are asked to pay that deposit over Zelle, or Venmo, or any other digital payment,” said Scheumack.

Cyber and consumer protection experts say you better do your homework before you hit send on a digital payment app because a mistake is hard to recover from.

”You don’t have a lot of protection as a consumer with digital payments. The way the digital payment platforms view this is you’re willingly sending that money to the individual that you’re sending it to. So, if you were to send it to the wrong person there’s not a lot you can do to get your money back,” said Scheumack.

Bob McLaughlin leads the Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Centerin Colorado Springs and says he appreciates this warning because he’s seen some of the potential dangers first hand.

”I get these kinds of calls too. I’m a veteran and I served in active duty and my wife always says if it’s too good to be true it’s probably not true. Never commit to anything during the first interaction,” said McLaughlin.

He’s urging military families and veterans to speak with someone they trust before they pay anyone, especially through a digital payment app.

”You know we always say trust but verify. Never, whatever the situation is, just jump into something. Always double check. There’s enough stress on our military families to not have to be worried about someone fleecing them or taking advantage of them,” said McLaughlin.

The best advice for staying safe with digital payment apps is to never pay someone you don’t know using this method. Try to find other means to pay that offer more protection, like through a credit card.

If anyone would like more information on these and other scams they can learn more at IdentityIQ.

Remember, if you are presented with something you think might be fraud or a scam you can always reach out to us at News5and we’ll take a look.

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