September 23, 2023

8 Valuable Tips To Avoid Scams on Mobile Payment Apps

Mobile Payment Apps: Two people transacting money using their phones

In current times, individuals are increasingly inclined to mobile payment apps on their smartphones for sending money to friends and family instead of writing traditional checks. This is because of the convenience and user-friendliness of such apps while providing a contactless transaction option that addresses health and safety concerns like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge another significant aspect: the prevalence of fraudulent activities. We must stay vigilant and adopt preventive measures to protect ourselves using these convenient platforms. In this article, we will explore 8 valuable tips to help you navigate mobile payment apps safely and avoid being scammed.

What Are Mobile Payment Apps?

mobile payment apps: popular mobile payment app logos
Courtesy: The New York Times

Mobile payment apps have emerged as convenient and futuristic tools that many have grown reliant on. These apps enable us to settle payments for various goods and services effortlessly, contribute to our friends’ fundraising initiatives, and even cover our rent. Some prominent names in the realm of payment apps you’re likely familiar with include PayPal, Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App. When you link your checking account or credit card to the application, you can easily initiate payments and transfer funds upon receiving payments.

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Common Scams on Mobile Payment Apps

Phishing Emails

Phishing scammers use a common deceitful tactic by sending deceptive emails that appear authentic, aiming to deceive users into disclosing their login details or clicking on harmful links that steal their personal information. It’s crucial to note that genuine emails from the payment apps team will never request users to provide their login information or adopt an aggressive tone in their communications.

Buying and Selling

When engaging in online sales, it is of utmost importance to remain vigilant regarding the possibility of encountering dishonest individuals who may use deceitful payment techniques. These scammers might use stolen credit cards or fraudulent payment app accounts to make a purchase. 

Once they receive the item, which is typically of higher value to make it worth their efforts, the fraudulent payment either fails to go through or is deducted from your account. Alternatively, scammers may cancel the payment after receiving the item but before the payment is cleared, leaving you without payment and goods. 

Another tactic scammers employ is to overpay for an item using a payment app. They will then request you refund the excess amount, often in cash, while returning the purchased item. This maneuver can involve a double scam if a stolen credit card is used. It is essential to stay vigilant and cautious to avoid falling victim to these deceitful practices.

Fake Security Alerts

Beware of deceitful emails that almost resemble phishing emails, as certain scammers might use a fraudulent email strategy alleging that your payment account has suffered a security breach and your confidential details have been compromised. Scammers often include fake website links in emails to scam you into changing your login credentials, but this trick can steal your current login information.

Specific Mobile Payment Apps Scams

Cash App Scams

Mobile payment apps: A logo of Cash App
Courtesy: Tuko News

Cash Flipping

Scammers often exploit social media platforms to promote a deceptive scheme where they claim to have multiplied their money by sending a smaller sum to others and receiving a larger amount in return. They attempt to persuade you to engage in the same practice which does not exist.


The #CashAppFridays campaign is an authentic cash giveaway initiative organized by Cash App. However, despite its legitimacy, scammers have seized the opportunity to exploit unsuspecting individuals. These fraudulent individuals create counterfeit Cash App accounts and employ the same hashtag to reach out to users, deceitfully asserting that they have won the giveaway. However, they cunningly demand payment or login details from the recipients as a prerequisite for claiming their prize. It is crucial to remain cautious when encountering such communications.

Venmo Scams

Venmo logo
Courtesy: LogoLook

Mistaken Deposit Scams 

In this deceptive scheme, an unexpected sum of money mysteriously materializes in your account, courtesy of an unfamiliar individual. Shortly thereafter, you receive a message claiming that the transaction was a mistake, accompanied by a request to return the funds promptly. Venmo, in particular, is particularly susceptible to this scam due to its customer support advising users to engage in precisely such actions when confronted with inadvertent payments.

Zelle Scams

Zelle pay logo

Zelle Smishing

There exists a specific type of smishing, a fraudulent technique, that cunningly tricks individuals into revealing their login credentials without divulging their passwords. In this scheme, perpetrators impersonate the customer’s genuine financial institution and send a text message resembling a legitimate fraud alert.

The message prompts the recipient to verify or refute a suspicious charge by replying with a simple “YES” or “NO” via text. Subsequently, mere minutes later, the scammer initiates a phone call, cunningly requesting the unsuspecting victim’s username. Herein lies the intricacy of the scam: armed with the obtained username, the scammer can manipulate the victim into assisting in a password reset over the phone, thus granting them unauthorized access to the victim’s accounts and transferring funds to their own Zelle account.

Me-to-Me Scam

In an alternate variation of this fraudulent scheme, individuals may receive text messages warning them about potential fraud, seemingly originating from their bank. However, during the subsequent follow-up call, the scammer will cunningly request that you transfer funds to your Zelle account. Meanwhile, they have illicitly connected your Zelle account to their bank account, enabling them to transfer the money into their possession swiftly. Zelle is among the most vulnerable mobile payment apps when it comes to these scams.

Protecting Yourself From Payment App Scams

  1. Ensure the privacy of your transactions to prevent scammers from gaining a glimpse into your spending patterns. By ensuring confidentiality, you mitigate the risk of malicious individuals gaining insight into your financial habits and employing deceptive tactics.
  2. Under no circumstances should you proceed with refunding an overpayment or accidental payment unless you know the individual who initiated it and has independently confirmed the error.
  3. Exercise caution and refrain from being enticed by get-rich-quick schemes. If an opportunity appears overly promising and too good to be true, such as the concept of cash flipping, it is important to exercise skepticism.
  4. Ensuring that any promotions or accolades on social media originate solely from authorized and verified application accounts is essential.
  5. Remember that reputable payment applications will never request you verify your username or log in details. In the event that you encounter an individual claiming to be associated with the application and requesting such details, it is crucial to reach out to customer service directly for guidance and clarification.
  6. Before transferring funds to an online-based enterprise that has caught your attention, it is prudent to confirm their authenticity by conducting a verification process through the esteemed Better Business Bureau.
  7. Exercise caution when sharing your login details on websites accessed through email or other messages. Instead, take the initiative to independently open the respective app and verify any messages from customer service.
  8. Exercise caution when confronted with unsolicited payment appeals from friends. Refrain from responding until you verify the request through alternate channels, such as a phone call, text message, or email. 


In conclusion, safeguarding yourself against scams when using mobile payment apps is very important. Following these eight essential tips can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to these frauds.

Always verify the legitimacy of the app and its security features, regularly update your app and device, use strong and unique passwords, enable two-factor authentication, exercise caution when sharing personal information, double-check transaction details before confirming, be vigilant of suspicious messages or requests, and report any suspicious activity promptly.

By implementing these precautions and staying informed, you can enjoy the convenience of mobile payment apps while keeping your financial transactions secure and protected.


Hello, I am Lancederrique, a seasoned freelance writer, podcast show notes and article writer. With an impressive track record spanning three enriching years in the field of freelance writing and translation, I possess a unique blend of skills that make every word come alive on the page. My passion for the written word is beautifully evident in the captivating articles and podcast episodes I write. My talent has been recognized by renowned websites, earning me the privilege of contributing their exceptional storytelling prowess to various platforms including This one. If you are looking for a masterful touch that transforms ideas into engaging narratives, my qualities, and skills resonate with excellence in every keystroke.

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