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Safety Tips for Sending Money Digitally

Apr 15, 2024

You crave the convenience of a digital payment system but maintain concerns about security – for good reason. Person-to-Person payment apps are easy to use and helpful; you can send and receive money using your smartphone and a linked bank account, credit card or debit card. If you’re not careful though, a scam can catch you by surprise.

Scammers can create a lookalike website, impersonate a call center and provide a fake caller ID that matches that of your financial institution. Rest assured, there are ways to be safety-savvy and still take advantage of modern technology. Let’s look at some tips for sending money digitally and steering clear of scams.

Pause when you receive a one-time passcode. If you get a call – from what appears to be a legitimate source – saying there’s a problem with your account and telling you how to fix it, beware of a one-time passcode sent to your phone via text message. Since companies have begun using two-factor authentication, where a verification code is sent via text, you may have grown accustomed to confirming a code. However, if you give a scammer a code like this, they may be able to use your payment app to transfer money without your permission. Instead, call the source directly to confirm its legitimacy.

Don’t use a payment app for an item advertised online. If you don’t know the seller personally, you don’t know if the person is a scammer. There’s a chance you could send a payment digitally and then never receive the item.

Confirm requests for money. If you get a call from someone claiming to be a friend or relative who says they’re in trouble and in need of monetary assistance, don’t jump right to your payment app. Call the person back using the number you have saved for them. Unless you initiate the call using the correct number, not necessarily one in a text message, you cannot be sure you’re talking to the intended person.

Be suspicious of a text message urging you to call. Don’t use the number provided in the text message, click a link there or reply to the text. The message may request that you respond to supposed account discrepancies and may look like it’s from your financial institution. Delete the message and contact your institution directly.

Send money only to people you know and trust. Payment apps are meant for family members, friends and others you have a relationship with. Once you send money with a payment platform, the transaction likely cannot be canceled. If you send money to a stranger, even by mistake, you probably won’t be able to get your money back.

Make sure the recipient’s info is correct. If you type an incorrect phone number, username or email address in the payment app, your money can be sent to someone other than the intended person. It’s your responsibility to double-check the information for your recipient to ensure that it’s correct.

Protect your account. Use a strong password that you don’t share with anyone, and don’t use it across multiple sites. Sign up for alerts if they’re an option and watch your financial accounts for unusual activity.

Payment platforms are perfect in certain settings, like splitting the cost of a dinner out with family members or paying a friend back for picking up concert tickets. When it’s time to pay someone you don’t know well, it’s best to choose a payment method with more protection, like a credit card. Save digital peer-to-peer payments for familiar faces only.