A woman is warning other Zelle users after she said she was scammed out of thousands of dollars.
The woman, Denise, remains concerned that she’ll be targeted again after the incident in January.
The saga began when Denise received a text message that she thought was from her bank, Wells Fargo.
It read: “Zelle transaction attempted $3500.” She was asked to respond yes or no to verify the transaction.
When she replied no, she said her phone began to ring. The man on the other end claimed to be from Wells Fargo.
Denise said he told her that someone was trying to steal $3,500 from her.
The man said luckily they caught the issue in time and claimed there was a simple solution.
He gave Denise specific instructions to follow, telling her to log into Zelle and transfer the money back to her own account “to reverse the transaction.”
Denise told Washington, DC Fox affiliate WTTG that she began to doubt what the man was telling her, so she asked him to prove his identity.
“I said, ‘I need something where nobody else knows, but an inside person.’
“And he said, ‘You just made a transaction. You transferred the money from your savings to your checking.’
“And he told me the exact amount. And I thought, ‘Well, OK.’”
In reality, the money was already gone.
Sgt Michael Smith with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said the caller likely already had access to Denise’s bank account.
He said scammers often get bank account login information from the dark web or through data breaches.
“These people are employed by major operations to get this information to use this information against you,” Smith said.
“Sometimes it’s overseas, sometimes it’s domestic.”
He said the sheriff’s office was currently investigating a case involving a victim who lost $600,000 in a scam.
His advice – if you have one moment of doubt, don’t go through with what the scammer is asking.
Denise said she was planning to use the money for home repairs.
“I’m a single mom, I work hard every day,” she said.
“That’s a lot of money for me.”
Fortunately for Denise, her money was returned on St Patrick’s Day after her story gained media attention.
She said sharing her story has helped “so many people that I am aware of.”
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo warned customers of these types of scams.
In a statement, the bank said: “It’s disheartening that scammers are actively pursuing and defrauding victims. We never want to see anyone become a victim of a scam, and we want to make sure everyone is aware that criminals can spoof a caller ID number so it appears as if a call or text is from your bank.
“To be safe, don’t respond. Contact your bank using legitimate sources, such as the number on the back of your debit card.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.