The Zelle Scam No One Has Told You About

You’re using a money transfer service like Zelle, Venmo, PayPal, or even Apple pay. You hit send the money, leave your account, but the recipient never gets it. Your bank won’t tell you where it went. Money transfer service won’t tell you where it went. The recipient’s bank has no record of any transaction. What do you do? Well, that was a question that I had to answer because that was the scenario that I was in only I was the recipient. So it’s an interesting story, but I don’t tell it to bash any of these companies today. What we’re going to do is I’m going to, I’m going to tell you how I was able to figure out what happened and how I can use that information to help you avoid it because these companies are not going to help you if it happens to you, but you can avoid it in the first place.

The money transfer story from hell

So that’s where we’re going to get to today. So the money transfer story from hell, I am going to try and long story short this thing to the best of my absolute ability and it is difficult, but I’m going to try. Okay. So what we have here is me, I have a business partner. Okay. And he owes me some money and it was from a transaction was personal and was the sum of $1,300 and he was out of town at the time. He decided to pay me back. So what he did was his bank was Wells Fargo. My bank was the chase. Okay. And what he decided to do as he said, listen, I’m going to send this via my online bill pay. I just put your phone number in and they’re going to be able to, you know, con connects with your online bill pay chase cause it’s listed as one of the banks and you’ll just basically get the money just by being put in your phone number.

I said okay fine. Probably doesn’t sound like that great of an idea. Said $1,300 but uh okay, I’ll do it. So he sent that on a Friday and I didn’t get it. And I didn’t even think anything of it. I’m just thinking a large amount of money using my phone number, so maybe give it over the weekend. And Monday came and went nothing. Finally Tuesday of that, uh, later that week, um, of the next week, sorry. He, uh, you know, I, I told him, I said, listen, it’s not there. So he called his bank and he said, yeah, you know, listen, um, it got sent out given this, given this confirmation number, I checked with my bank, said, no, we don’t, we don’t have any record of that. So after talking about two or three people, because Wells Fargo was just adamant that they had sent that money and they were like, tell them to do this and tell them to do that.

And, and we actually at one point got on the phone, like one of their bankers and our bankers. So their banker has to clear with me to talk to them. And then with the other person on the phone, my business partner, and then their bank has to do the same thing with me and it takes like 10 minutes just to get these two people on the phone. And then what we came to was the conclusion of no, the money didn’t go to chase. So that was a pain in and of itself. But I was trying to, um, what I was trying to do at that point was figure out, okay, well where do I go? Because excuse me, we know that the money got sent somewhere, right? But I have Wells Fargo selling me that. It went to chase. I have chase telling me that it didn’t go to them.

So I start contacting fraud and I said, listen, you know, just for the heck of it, man, I’m going to report a case here. I’m like, well, you can’t report fraud because of a, you can’t confirm that anything fraudulent happens. We don’t have a record of anything. So how could there be a fraud? Listen, I’m just trying to get some help. So the fraud department wouldn’t help me. I finally started talking to a couple of different texts. So I’m on my, probably my fourth person here. And the person says, you know, maybe the problem is that you’re not signed up for online bill pay. And I said, well yeah I am. I said, well, I went in here and your, your, your phone number is not registered. Here’s where it gets interesting. So I go in and I say, okay, this is, this is neat. Um, let me put in my phone number, let me just register.

Maybe that’s why maybe the money’s just sitting in thin air, right. Not coming in. Let me register my, uh, phone number real quick. I put my phone number in and it says this number is already in use. Well, that’s interesting to me. So I told the person, I said, well, it says the numbers already in use, so I have it on my bill. Pay. Said, no, you don’t let me just reset the system and um, see what happens. So they reset it. I put my phone number in and allowed me to sign up. I said I, and I told him, listen, I know I was signed up for online bill pay. I worked at Wells Fargo for two years. I signed up, I don’t even know how many people for online bill pay because it’s a free part of having a chicken count at these places.

And I liked it, you know, someone who was selling something they liked and use themselves. And when I went over to chase, I still had accounts at Wells Fargo. They’re just, they’re just business. When I went over to chase, I would have done that and they would have asked me to do it and I wouldn’t have said no. So those two things together, I know I signed up for online bill pay and I remembered it because like I said, just being in banking, I, you know, I remember what would happen. So I knew I signed up for it, but I waited a day. I said, well, let’s give this 24 hours and maybe that was the problem and you know, whatever, I don’t know, who knows what happened? Well, the money’s still never showed up. And it kind of occurred to me at that point that something wasn’t right.

How to use zelle

Right. Fraudulent Lee, before I was just kind of reaching out to their fraud department for the heck of it. But now I was like, wait a second. Something wasn’t right with my account. Something that I had done wasn’t the way that I found it. So something isn’t right here. The person, uh, my business partner was pretty resilient himself and he was finally on the phone with someone at Wells Fargo way out incorporate in California, uh, way up high in their, their fraud department. Cause he said, listen, they’re not, my money went somewhere. It left my account. It isn’t where I’m supposed to have gone. So fraud. Right. He has a case because he has money missing. I couldn’t get the chase fraud department because there was no record of anything. It’s, you know, it’s one of those things policy-wise. So he’s on the phone with this person, this person, listen, I’m going to, I’m going to break it down to you.

Okay. Um, the money didn’t go to chase. Okay, well where did it go? We can’t tell you that that’s private information and this is something, this is where the scam gets brilliant. Okay, whoever did this and yes, this is a scam. This was intentional. We’ll get to that in a minute. Um, the beauty of this is that banks cannot communicate with each other about the information that isn’t theirs. Okay. They can see it if they do business. So a bank, if someone at a Wells Fargo can see something about accounts, it chases all day long, they just can’t tell anyone about it and vice versa. Right. So that, that is the beautiful part of this is that you’re working within these institutions and they don’t, they’re not able to tell the account holders or the people that have lost money a thing and you’re just left to figure it out all on your own.

So that’s what happened. So he told me this and I said, okay, now I know what happened and it might’ve clicked for you by now. So I’m just going to, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you anyway. What happened was someone was able to remove my phone number for my online bill pay. Okay. And use that phone number to establish it with another bank account number somewhere else. Okay. So that when he sent the number to my phone number, the transfer initiated, it just went to this other account somewhere else and we able to find out that it went to the ATD bank account. Okay. So I had contacted, um, Xcel, of course, it wasn’t Zelle at that time. It was a clear change. And if you look up Zelle, you’ll see that it was clear exchange here on, you can see on Wikipedia was a clear exchange and it’s owned by bank of America.

BB, T Wells Fargo chase it, all the big wigs are in it. Okay. But I contacted them and I said, listen, we know now that the money left Wells Fargo and that it didn’t go to me. Okay. So they start looking some things up. The woman I spoke to, a very nice lady out in Arizona, I believe in New Mexico or something. Said, yeah, give me, give me a couple of days to look this up and see what happened. She calls me back. She says the same thing. She says, listen, um, I see an account here that was set up in our system. Okay, so what someone did, they manually went in, went to clearXchange and set up a transfer. Okay, now I might have discussed this earlier, but what happens is, is if you don’t have a bank that has all my bill pay, um, you can set up a transfer manually one of these places.

Online bill pay

Now again, maybe with Zelle and everything else, you just do it on your phone. Now people don’t have to do this, but let’s say when you when they started doing this number transfer thing, you had a small rural bank somewhere, okay? They didn’t have online bill pay. You could go into clearXchange, type in your routing and account number, attach it to your phone number and essentially use the system just like anybody else would. You could have somebody anywhere just you know, punch up your phone number into the system and send you money, you know, via mobile from Wells Fargo or Chase or any of these other banks in their system and that’s what they did is it, it was kind of a big system that essentially once you registered your phone number, it was now off the market. Right? No one could touch it because if anyone could set up a phone number at any online bill pay, how would the system know?

Right. When someone texts the numbers then okay, I’m going to send you 50 bucks to this number. While there are 30 accounts out there with a phone number, how does it know where to send the money? You know, so you can only use one phone number once. Now rewind and think a little bit, right. What happened when I was on the phone with people at the chase, they said, Hey, you’re, you’re not signing up for online bill pay. And then when I put my number in, it said this number is already being used. And only when they reset it was I able to sign up for online bill pay. So essentially when they said it, they just deleted everything that someone had done. Okay. Still in clear about that. But anyway, going back now to talking to the people clearXchange she said, listen, I can see that it was sent to an account that isn’t a chase.

Okay, well we’re on the same page now with what we know from Wells Fargo. And she said, I can see a name here, but I can’t tell you what it is. And so, okay, well we’re playing that game again. The privacy game. Okay. So if you’re telling me that there’s a name there that you can’t tell me what it is, I’m going to assume it’s not mine. So I did a little, you know, reverse quizzing. I said, well, all right, I’ll tell you why you can’t tell me what the name is, but you can tell me what it isn’t. Is it my name? And she said, no. Okay, so we’re good now. Now we know it’s a name. So, um, why aren’t we reporting fraud again? Well because someone established this and we can’t, you know, properly conclude that you are the accurate recipient of it and there’s no, there’s no proof that you were the one that was supposed to receive this money because, and, and you know, again, let me try to squeeze this in.

Money Exchange Fraud

Okay. What happens in another beautiful part of the scam is the money was sent to the account of the phone number that you punched in. So if you punch in blah, blah, blah blah blah, well that’s where the money went. So technically Wells Fargo can claim we did all we were supposed to do, we sent it to the phone number you entered and then clear exchange or Zelle or any of these transfer service say well we sent it to the account link with the phone number that you put in. And the phone number that we put in was correct. So it’s not our problem. And everyone on down the line can all claim that they only did what they’re, what their procedures told them to do, which is we send it out to this number in our system, whatever account that’s attached to. We don’t input account, we don’t make that account.

People do. So we’re not at fault. So Wells Fargo says called clearXchange. clearXchange is called a chase. Chase says call clearXchange and Wells Fargo, or I’m sorry, chase says, well, we have no record of it. So what can we do? We can’t do anything. We have no rec. We can’t fix a problem that on our end doesn’t exist. You know, and who’s wrong really? Legally, I don’t know. I wasn’t able to find it out now for $1,300. I can’t necessarily hire, hire an attorney to find out either. And the federal, the FBI, okay. Or any federal agency that handles these kinds of things. They don’t have the time to go after $1,300 problems. And you know, who knows how rampant this is, who knows how many times does this happen. But um, so essentially you’re on your own. All right. And I was on my own trying to figure this out.

Now I can’t remember how, but I was able to find out, I think. Oh no, I’m sorry. Yeah. I think calling back to someone at the clear exchange, I was able to find out that it was TD bank that that money went to TD bank. Okay. And or maybe it was a person at Wells Fargo, I don’t know. So I contacted TD bank and I said, listen, your bank received stolen funds, you know, um, and you know, I am it possible for you to just communicate with Wells Fargo or communicate with clearXchange right. Just get these places to talk to each other. Cause if you can’t tell me, you can at least communicate with each other and you can say, here’s this transaction, you know, here’s where our customer says it was supposed to go. You can verify that’s not where it went. And we can establish that there’s some fraud here.

Net exchange Zelle

And the problem was is none of them would talk to each other. Clear exchange and Zelle wouldn’t talk to anybody. And listen, this is all suspicion here. Okay. Everything I say from, from here on out, I have no idea. Okay. Right. When this was happening was when this was up clear exchanges about to become Zelle. Zelle, that product had not to service had not launched yet. It was about to launch in about a month or two. Okay. I suspect that nobody wanted this to be out there. Okay. Now I didn’t know all these banks own them at the time, right. But if I’m thinking about this, if we’re involved in the middle of JP Morgan chase screwing up and allowing my account to get violated, okay. Somehow Wells Fargo sending the money somewhere they weren’t supposed to from, you know, sending a customer’s money somewhere where it wasn’t supposed to go.

And then, you know, Zelle allowing it all to happen on their end by allowing someone to sign in and create a, uh, you know, a fake transfer order on their end. Uh, you got a mess, a pretty big mess for a massive product launch that they don’t need. And for whatever reason, I never got anybody to address it. And I said, listen, I don’t want to Sue you. I don’t want to do it. I just want you guys to fix this man. Cause you know, I could afford to be without the $1,300 for six months. How many people out there can’t? That’s a problem. Um, so essentially the old, the, I, I track the last person to have the money. That was the route that I went to. I said you know what, if I’m, if I go after the last person that had the money, that’s probably our best bet.

And that was, that was Wells Fargo. Okay. So I just harassed the living hell out of them. And what I did was I did it because, um, I’m a customer, but I wrote the letters because that’s just what I’m good at. And his writing and doing all that stuff. I wrote all that stuff on behalf of, um, my business partner. So I’d have him sign it and everything. So it was, you know, it wasn’t me, it was me writing it, but I was doing it on behalf of him. And, um, finally I just got a letter in the mail. Nobody tried to call me, nobody tried to email me. I just got a letter in the mail with a check and a short letter. And it just essentially, you know, in a polite, uh, lingo said, please leave us the heck alone.

Online banking

Here’s the money, go away. So, um, it worked out, but yeah, man, it was a fricking nightmare. And I was able to finally get a tech on the phone. It chases and I got some, I got some, what you would say is more of that, I can’t tell you, but I’m gonna do one of these. And the guy said to me, he said, you know, it would be possible for someone on the back end, uh, in the inside of our system to remove someone’s phone number from their online banking and that you wouldn’t know about it, that you would never get an alert. And my suspicion is, and again, I’m going just off suspicion here, that what happened was someone within chase was able to remove me because let me rewind. The fraud department did do a check and it took them, I don’t know, a day or something.

They came back, they did do a check and verify that no one as far as they could tell had gotten into my account. There were no suspicious accesses to my account from any random or odd IP addresses. Everything was from my home or my phone or everything was normal. So no one ever accesses my account. And when I, what I kind of figured out was someone in the chase had to have done that and no one, I was talking to a tech, I said, you know, it’s some enabled to doing this. He’s like, I can’t say no, but I can’t say yet. It was literally, that was the conversation. It was just like that other lady where I was like, well you can’t tell me it is mine. It isn’t my whose name it is, but you can tell me it’s not me. It was just like that for like four or five questions.

I was like, okay, so is this possible? And then he is like, yes, that is possible. But he can’t say, and it was, it was really weird. But essentially what he was trying to do was confirm with me that someone within the probably removes that remove my phone number. So I still technically signed up for a level of the online bill pay, just not my phone number and that freed up the phone number so that someone could then assign that phone number to an outside account, TD bank. So that one day whenever somebody would send money, that phone number, I would think I was, well I have all my bill pays and it just would go to another account. And I guess if you could just do that right, continuously do that over and over and over again and just take people’s phone numbers off of that system and just assign them to other accounts.

Send a transfer one day

You can siphon it, but somebody just sends a transfer one day. I mean that’s all it takes. And, and listen, I worked in a bank for two years and I had no idea that I did that had happened, that my phone number wasn’t registered. I had no idea it could. If, if, if he had never sent me that money, I would still to this day not know that my, my phone number isn’t transferred on there, that my phone, a phone number wasn’t on there. So it’s, that’s just something you have to watch out for. Um, I’m sorry about this. This, this thing is going on like 18 minutes here, even though the whole story went on, uh, six months and I probably lost track and jumped around a little bit. But the bottom line here is, is this thing was a friggin nightmare. Okay. And none of these people wanted to help me out because they all had plausible deniability.

They all had a reason not to help me. Um, and that was the beautiful part, and I’m going to say it again. That was the beautiful part of the scam. And one of the most frustrating moments for me was with the chase. Okay. Who legitimately, I don’t know what happened on the inside, but they legitimately did not get any money coming into them. Right? So there wasn’t anything to, to fix upfront or anything like that. But one of the most frustrating parts for me was when I narrowed down on the back end, my, um, my account, my, that, that my online bill pay. Okay. That it was unregistered at the time this transfer went through, but that I had registered it when I opened the account and I got some woman from Indianapolis, which is their headquarters. Okay. I got some woman on there and what one of their headquarters, sorry, big bank.

So I got some woman on the phone and I said, listen, can you verify for me that I had signed up for online bill pay with my phone number when I opened the account? Yes, I can. Okay. On the same page when I, when this transfer went through and got sent into outer space such and such a date, I use the date. Right. Cause they don’t, they won’t acknowledge the transfer happened. So I said when the da when on this such and such date, I was not signed up. Right. She said, yes. Okay. Two questions down. We’re on the same page. Let’s go for three. I got to the third question. The woman says, um, why, I don’t know when, I don’t know when you, when you, uh, were unregistered for the online bill pay. Well, can you find that out? Well, sir, we have no record of the transactions and you know, I don’t remember the, in the weeds of it, but the point was is what I was trying to get her to do was verify that I had signed up for it and that I wasn’t signed up for it.

Online bill pay

Find out the moment that I stopped being signed up for online bill pay, isolate that date. Find out where and when it happened. Cause I mean, Hey, listen, these banks right now, they can do it. If you work at a bank or anybody like this, you can do that. Okay. I was trying to get her to isolate that date that I became unsigned up for uh, the online bill. I don’t know how to say it as I’m sorry, but I was unregistered for the online bill, pay through my phone number and then if they had that date, they could get the fraud department to look at who access my account that day, whether it be from inside the bank or not. Uh, listen, this fraud of these banks, you can’t do anything with an account without knowing exactly where and when that happened, what, what IP address it came in from anything.

They’ll know exactly who did what and they had that date. They can look at who access my account that day and who made that change and she wouldn’t do it. And that, that alone right there, that little interaction told me that something was going on behind the scenes at chase. You told me that I was signed up for it when I opened the account. You told me that when this transfer date occurred that I wasn’t signed up, but you refused to tell me the day. That’s that I took my phone number apparently off of my online bell pay. You just won’t give me that date. It doesn’t make any sense. So that’s my story. Um, if you were able to go through this whole thing, God bless you, man. Um, but yeah, essentially to protect yourself, just make sure your phone number is registered for your online bill pay.

Uh, if you’ve listened this far as I said, God bless you. Again, if you have any questions, just go ahead and feel free to answer them up to I answered. Go ahead and feel free to ask them in the comment section below or wherever I may post this. Um, again, I’m sorry. I know it was probably all over the place. I was trying to keep six months all down into, now I’m at 20 minutes, so I was trying to iron all this stuff down. So if you guys have any additional questions, um, please feel free to ask. I’m just here to help guys and I want to make sure this thing doesn’t happen to you. And I don’t know if anybody out there has also had this happen to them. I shoot man, I’d love to hear it. I go ahead and tell me about it. Um, so that’s pretty much it guys. Uh, thanks for listening and, um, have a good one.

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