North Texas woman loses thousands to Zelle text message scam – CBS DFW

FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — On a Saturday in June, Shanna Coulter received a text message from what appeared to be her credit union. 

The text message asked, “Did you attempt a Zelle payment for the amount of $2,000?” 

She immediately typed her response, “No.” Within minutes, she received a phone call.

“When it showed up, it showed up as my financial institution on a caller ID,” Coulter said.

The call was spoofed. Its technology that can disguise a fake phone number as one you may know, like your bank. 

And soon enough, Coulter was on her way to losing thousands of dollars. 

“You get so locked down on trying to save yourself, that you end up making it worse,” she said.

The man on the other end of the line told Coulter to stop the $2,000 transaction, he needed the code she was just texted by Zelle security. 

And despite a warning message that the numbers weren’t meant for sharing, her panicked state was taken advantage of. 

“He now had access to Zelle, which I had never used,” she said.

By giving out the numbers, the man now had access to her Zelle account and could funnel out cash up to her daily limit approved by her credit union. 

“It was $1,000 a day, and of course he calls me the next day and says we are still working this case for you,” she said.

It happened multiple times, three days in a row to be exact, and Coulter lost a grand each time. 

Two of the days were on the weekend, which she says admittedly seemed odd for a bank, but the scammers were about to smooth talk their way out of any concern she had. 

Amy Rasor of the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau says this is more common than you think. 

“There is going to be something off, but if you are in panic mode, you may not be paying attention,” Rasor said.

According to the BBB, Americans have lost over $300,000 to similar scams in the past year. 

And unfortunately, they’re becoming more and more tricky — featuring things like identical greetings and call back numbers. 

“This is what they do for their job,” she said. “They are scamming people out of their money, and they have an entire team to put it together.”

Here’s some tips to help you avoid falling victim. 

Coulter was originally told she may not get her money reimbursed by her credit union because insurance would only cover theft, not scams. But after speaking to the right people, she did get her money back.

Rasor says if that ever happens to you, consider reporting it to the BBB and getting the FBI involved. Oftentimes, they can help recoup loss.