Payment Fraud Stats From the World’s Most Popular Apps: Zelle, Venmo, Cash App, Paypal, and More

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Payment apps have been around for a while now, and it looks like they may be the way of the future.

Unfortunately, scammers have caught wind of this.

It turns out that convenience comes at a price: payment fraud. And in some cases, that price means entire bank accounts getting drained.

This article isn’t written to stop you from using your favorite payment app. You can use whatever app you’d like; it’s just good for you to know the risks and where to look out for potential scams.

Payment Fraud Stats for the Most Used Payment Apps in the World

Let’s look at the top payment apps available today and see how much fraud there is on each platform.

**Payment App 1: Cash App




An app that started out as a quick way to send money to friends has devolved into a financial nightmare for some of its users.

Cash App is a financial services platform that allows users to send, receive, and even invest money. Cash App has been around for about ten years, and in that time, it became one of the most popular apps out there, with almost 50 million active users.

How Often Do People Get Scammed Using Cash App?

Cash App is designed to be as convenient as possible for its users, and unfortunately, that can lead to a lot of fraud. According to one report, up to 9% of those who use the application at least once a week have reported some type of fraud while using the app.

With almost 50 million downloads, 9% is a gigantic number.

Common Scams on the Platform

Accidental Payment Scams - A crafty scam where a fraudster intentionally overpays for goods or services and then convinces the victim to refund the excess amount. Usually, the whole transaction is just a setup to fool the victim.

Cash Flipping - A silly scam where a fraudster convinces a victim that they can turn $100 into $2,000 or more.

#CashAppFridays - A real contest that Cash App does on Fridays that fraudsters like to take advantage of with their own fake versions.

Cash App’s Scam Policy

Cash App’s policy is to take every scam seriously, which is laid out on its customer support page. If you've become a victim of a scam on Cash App, your best bet is to call 1-800-969-1940 during business hours and see what the company can do for you.

For more information about how Cash App scams work and how to avoid them, check this article out.

**Payment App 2: Meta Messenger




Although most people still call Facebook’s messaging service “Facebook Messenger,” the official name is Meta Messenger. Meta Messenger can be used for instant messaging, voice calls, video calls, and as a way to send money to other users through Meta Pay.

Meta Messenger has 188 million active users in the United States alone.

How Often Do People Get Scammed Using Meta Messenger?

Strangely enough, the number seems low. With so many people using the service, it only makes sense that there would be a large amount of reported scams, but that doesn’t appear to be so.

There are tons of people getting scammed on Facebook itself, and even more so on Facebook Marketplace. However, Meta Messenger has escaped that fate, so far.

Meta Messenger's Scam Policy

More evidence that Meta Messenger hasn’t been hit hard by fraudsters can be found on their scam policy page, or lack thereof. The page mainly consists of some general facts and advice about common scams and says nothing about refunding money or what victims should do if they get scammed while using the service.

Essentially, it appears that the service hasn’t been hit hard enough by fraudsters to justify an official scam policy.

**Payment App 3: PayPal




PayPal is the payment app that started it all, and it remains strong even today, with over 400 million people using the service worldwide to transfer funds, make payments, and conduct online transactions. A big part of PayPal’s success is due to users not having to share their financial information directly with the recipient.

Unfortunately, due to PayPal’s popularity, fraudsters tend to gravitate toward the platform in droves.

How Often Do People Get Scammed Using PayPal?

Due to how popular PayPal is, it’s not rare for people to get scammed using the service. However, there are no solid numbers when it comes to how many victims there are.

PayPal claims to have taken measures to prevent scams and protect its users, but fraudsters are continually evolving their tactics, making it tough to guarantee safety when using the site.

Common Scams on the Platform

Fake Invoices - A common PayPal scam that involves sending a victim a fraudulent invoice, pretending to be a legitimate seller. The victim pays the invoice and never hears from the “seller” again.

Phishing Emails - Scammers will often send fake emails posing as PayPal itself. These emails may appear genuine, but they’re designed to steal sensitive data.

Charity Scams - This one is the lowest of the low. A scam that involves collecting donations for a “charitable cause” that turns out to be some guy in his basement.

PayPal’s Scam Policy

PayPal is known for having purchase protection to reimburse eligible transactions and buyer & seller protection to protect against unauthorized transactions. But there’s no solid policy when it comes to fraud when using the platform.

PayPal encourages users to report any suspicious activity or scams they encounter, and that’s about it.

If you want to learn more about online scams to avoid on PayPal, make sure to check out this article.

**Payment App 4: Telegram




Telegram is another cloud-based instant messaging app that allows users to send messages, share files, and send money to each other. Telegram emphasizes the privacy and security features (like end-to-end encryption) that help keep the platform safe while transferring funds.

How Often Do People Get Scammed Using Telegram?

Despite the security measures Telegram has implemented, fraudsters have found a way to take advantage of the popular platform. According to a CNBC article published in February 2023, there has been an 84% increase in fraudulent activity on Telegram in the United States alone.

The article itself goes over how scammers are using Telegram to pull off check fraud, but there are plenty of other scams to look out for with this app as well.

Common Scams on the Platform

Fake Giveaways - Scammers are always setting up fake giveaways, particularly in the cryptocurrency space, with the goal of stealing your personal information.

Fake Accounts and Bots - This is a problem with every app, but on Telegram, there are a ton of bots, and some of them are looking for your money.

Customer Support Scams - Just because someone presents themselves as customer support for Telegram or any other company doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth.

Telegram’s Scam Policy

Despite the fact that fraud and cybercrime are considered a rising concern on Telegram by many people, the company doesn’t have an official scam policy.

**Payment App 5: Venmo \



Venmo is a very popular mobile payment service that even boomers are starting to use. All it takes is a bank account to link the service to in order to use this easy money-transferring service.

How Often Do People Get Scammed Using Venmo?

There are no hard numbers on how often people get scammed with this service, which could mean that Venmo has fewer scammers on the platform. That doesn’t seem likely, however, as the company posted a list of the most common scams found on Venmo on its website.

Common Scams on the Platform

Fake Prize or Cash Reward - Scammers may contact users, telling them that they won a prize or cash reward, in hopes of stealing their information.

Calls or Texts Pretending to be Venmo - Another insidious way for fraudsters to steal your information.

Pretending to be Your Friend - This is when a scammer changes their username and profile image to look like someone you know. Technically, this is not a common scam, but it’s worth knowing about due to how successful these attempts are.

Venmo Scam Policy

Venmo’s official policy is that once a payment has been sent, it cannot be canceled or refunded. All you can do is hope that the scammer will return the money out of the kindness of their heart, which, most likely, has never happened before.

If you’ve been scammed on Venmo, you can contact customer service and submit a dispute. There are cases where some people were lucky enough to get their money back by doing this.

**Payment App 6: WhatsApp




WhatsApp is undoubtedly the most popular text messaging service that’s free to use, with over 100 billion messages sent each day on the service. With that many people using the service, it shouldn’t be a surprise that fraudsters have made a home on the platform.

How Often Do People Get Scammed Using WhatsApp?

In 2021 alone, 9% of investment-related social media fraud was linked to WhatsApp, according to the FTC. That’s not including the fraud that wasn’t reported, and that’s just one of the many types of scams that populate the platform.

With so many people using WhatsApp, it’s almost impossible to get an accurate number for the amount of fraud that happens on the service. But in short, it’s a lot.

Common Scams on the Platform

Impersonation Fraud - When it comes to fraudsters scamming people by pretending to be friends and family members, WhatsApp is at the top of the list.

Romance Scams - Attractive profile pics can often lead to bank accounts getting emptied if you’re not careful. Sometimes, it's better to meet people in person.

QR Code Scams - Here’s a newer type of scam where fraudsters send out QR codes to random people, explaining that they won a prize and they just need to scan it. I bet you can guess what happens after the code gets scanned.

WhatsApp Scam Policy

WhatsApp doesn’t have an official scam policy, just some general tips to avoid fraud on its website.

**Payment App 7: Zelle \



Zelle is a widely used and trusted service that makes it easy for users to send instant payments to each other. Zelle is available to use with almost every financial institution, and it’s probably on your banking app right now.

How Often Do People Get Scammed Using Zelle?

According to Zelle, 99.9% of transactions on the platform go through without any reported fraud. But for those who have been victimized by scammers on the service beg to differ, with reports claiming that some Zelle users lost close to $440 million dollars in 2021 due to fraud.

Common Scams on the Platform

Fake Job Scams - This scam involves a job seeker landing a “high-paying opportunity” with a fraudster posing as a legitimate business. All the victim has to do is send a few thousand dollars through Zelle to the “hiring manager” for “their equipment.”

Fake Puppy Scams - This common scam uses an image of an irresistible puppy (or other cute animal) to lure victims in. The fraudster then tells the victim that they can buy the animal through Zelle. By the end of the transaction, there is no puppy, and the victim’s money is gone forever.

Money Mule Scams - Crafty scammers can trick victims into transferring money through Zelle on their behalf to avoid jail time for doing illegal activities. If the victim gets caught, they can end up in prison, even if they were unaware of what was happening behind the scenes.

Zelle’s Scam Policy

Getting a refund after getting scammed using Zelle is extremely rare. Zelle’s official scam policy is for the victim to contact their personal financial institution and see what they can do for them.

For more about Zelle-related scams and how to avoid them, check out this article.

Final Thoughts

If you’re worried about getting scammed on one of these platforms, you’re best bet is to use Meta Messenger. When it comes to payment fraud, Meta Messenger seems to have fewer cases reported.

But at the end of the day, no payment app is 100% safe when it comes to fraud. The only thing you can do as a user is think long and hard about who you’re sending your money to.

Just because something is convenient doesn’t make it safe.

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