P2P payment apps: New technology, same old fraud

Scammers being quite creative in targeting consumers

ORLANDO, Fla. – For the sake of convenience and security, more and more people are ditching cash -- and their credit cards -- for mobile payment apps on their phones. One class of mobile payment tech: P2P payment apps.

For the newbies: P2P stands for peer-to-peer, and P2P payment apps are the latest way to send and receive money. Instead of carrying around cash or a physical debit or credit card, P2P apps are tied to a bank account and will let a user electronically transfer and receive money.

Venmo (owned by PayPal) has been around a while and was one of the pioneers in the field. Cash.App (owned by Square) is a little newer and is quite popular. Zelle was actually set up by a consortium of banks and kicked into service in 2017 (it can also be directly linked to those banks’ mobile apps). Other popular services include Popmoney, Dwolla, Apple Pay, Google Pay and even Facebook Payments.

The advantage to using these apps is that with a locked phone, only the user should be able to get to the apps and passwords, making access even more secure. Apps are also a great way to transfer money between friends and can even work well when it comes time to split the bill with someone you know.

But for every good, there’s of course a bad. And the bad here is you’re not protected when you use these apps the same way you would be when using something like PayPal or Square Cash for Business.


The assumption with P2P apps is you know the person you‘re dealing with and with that knowledge, you’re authorizing a transfer. Never use a P2P payment app when dealing with a stranger.

News 6 investigator Adrianna Iwasinski discovered scammers are creatively targeting P2P payment users and your funds aren’t as protected as securely as you would think.

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