Should Banks Compensate Zelle Scam Victims? New Rules Say, “Yes”

By Michael B. Cohen

Vice President of Global Operations


Zelle is a fast and convenient way to receive and send money, but there is one problem – the risk of Zelle scams. You may get your funds fast with Zelle, but you could lose them just as quickly. However, the banks that run Zelle want to put a stop to Zelle scams with new 2023 rules that would require banks to reimburse fraud victims as reported by the New York Times

Public pressure and heat from politicians such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and regulators like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have caused the banks that run Zelle to take action. 

The seven banks in charge of Zelle, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, Bank of America, PNC, Trust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo, have initiated new rules for 2023 that would make banks responsible for compensating Zelle scam victims. 

These new rules mark a departure from the current caveat emptor – let the buyer beware – policy on Zelle that holds consumers responsible for transactions they make. Compensation is only possible for unauthorized charges, such as those made by hackers, and not for transactions the customer agreed to – even if they were deceived by the fraudster. 

Even worse for Zelle scam victims, Zelle policy until now has been that no transactions could be reversed. That made Zelle chargebacks impossible and it was a boon to fraudsters who could get away with cheating people on Zelle more easily than with credit cards, which can provide chargebacks to fraud victims. 

Not surprisingly, the number of Zelle scams rose steadily, so much so that Warren called out the payment platform by name. She told other members of the Senate Banking Committee that she found the increase of Zelle scams “alarming” and quoted statistics that documented that rates of Zelle fraud were 2.5 times higher than for bank transactions. 

What the New Zelle Scam Prevention Rules Will and Will Not Cover

The 2023 Zelle scam prevention rules will make the banks responsible for reimbursing clients who have been deceived into making transactions. One common example is a social engineering scam in which a cybercriminal will impersonate a bank official and ask for account information or for a transfer. 

However, it should be noted that the Zelle scam reforms are more limited in scope than the headlines suggest. They won’t combat all types of Zelle scams such as romance scams, certain crypto scams, or bad-faith merchants who sell defective items or who take the money and run. 

The banks won’t take responsibility for hasty and poor choices the consumer makes, even if the merchant or the crypto scam broker happens to be fraudulent. Instead, the new rules will require reimbursement or a Zelle chargeback only in clear cases that the customer was actively misled by the recipient, usually through an imposter assuming a fraudulent identity. 

So the policy at Zelle will still be caveat emptor – let the buyer beware, but it will provide compensation to Zelle scam victims in limited cases. 

Some Problems with the New Zelle Scam Compensation Rules

One of the main criticisms of the Zelle scam prevention rules, as mentioned above, is that they are more limited in scope than they may seem to be at first glance. Zelle chargebacks will only be granted if the recipients were imposters and disguised their identities. Peddlers of faulty or non-existent products may still be able to get away with their fraudulent activities on Zelle, at least as far as the banks are concerned. 

This raises the question of whether or not these new rules were intended to take some of the heat off the banks, from politicians, the public, and regulators. If they seem to be doing something, maybe they will be left alone. 

Some banks are worried about these new rules. What if the Zelle scam artist pulls their money out of the bank immediately, and then the bank is on the hook for reimbursing the customer with the criminal’s funds nowhere to be found? Some fear this could cause certain banks to stop using Zelle if a policy on Zelle chargebacks is put into place. 

What Can Victims of Zelle Scams Do?

The new Zelle scam prevention rules are a step in the right direction. However, they leave much to be desired when it comes to dealing with a wide range of Zelle scams. If you have lost money to a crypto scam, a fraudulent broker or a dishonest merchant on Zelle, you won’t automatically be granted a Zelle chargeback by the bank. 

So what can you do? It’s clear from this story that banks respond to pressure. They are sensitive about public relations and they don’t want the public to think they don’t care about Zelle scams. You need experts who have connections with major banks and an understanding of how to put pressure on you so banks will respond to your claim.

MyChargeBack experts will consult with you and help you map out a strategy that will help you recover from a Zelle scam. If you have MyChargeBack experts on your side, your claim can get the banks to act. 

Have You Lost Money to a Zelle Scam? Talk to MyChargeBack Experts Today!

If you have lost money to financial fraud, talk to the MyChargeBack team. Our crypto investigations will provide evidence to bolster your claim and get you started with fund recovery. 

MyChargeBack has developed working relationships with law enforcement agencies worldwide, has extensive knowledge and experience with crypto tracking, and can improve your prospects of getting your funds back