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The Science
Behind Scams

An Explainer Series

We’d all like to think that we’d be able to spot a scam.

However, scams and fraud (especially related to finances) can affect anyone, no matter how savvy you think you are.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Zelle to put together resources to help you learn more about financial scams and fraud, including information about common tactics that scammers use and ways you can avoid falling for them.

Here, you can explore videos explaining the psychology behind common scams, listen to soundbites from experts, and take a quiz to test your knowledge. Read on for more — it could help save you from a future scam.

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Tricks of the Trade

Think you’d never fall for a scam? Think again. Some of the most common scams take advantage of our most basic psychological needs and instincts, catching consumers unawares and costing them billions of dollars each year. That’s why understanding the psychology behind these tactics can help you avoid them. 

Test Your Knowledge

Even though scams might seem more like a TV plotline than a real-life problem, they’re more common than many people think. In fact, there were 4.7 million reports of fraud and scams to the Federal Trade Commission in 2020, with phone calls being the most common contact method used.

So, no matter how well prepared you might think you are, it’s important to stay updated on ways to protect yourself — and your money. In this quiz, we’ll take you through some information about common financial scams and fraud, and then test your knowledge with some example scenarios. Good luck!

Tip No. 1

Be careful with those unknown callers!

Be careful with those unknown callers! One-third of people in the U.S. have fallen victim to a phone scam, and phone calls were the most common contact method used by scammers last year. Never provide confidential information over the phone if you’re unsure of who’s on the other side.

Tip No. 2

Start with small, easy changes!

Start with small, easy changes! Make sure you’re using strong passwords for your bank accounts (and don’t use the same password for every account), sign up for text or email alerts from your bank, and only send money to those you know and trust. Find more tips at Zelle.

Tip No 3

Treat all money like cash!

When you’re sending money with digital payment services like Zelle, don’t forget you’re dealing with real money. Always double check you have the recipient’s correct U.S. mobile number or email address, so the money goes to the right person.

Think Fast!

It can take a second to fall for a scam – these videos take 15 to show you how to spot one.