A Snohomish County woman fell victim to a ticket scam after sending money through a money transfer smartphone app.
Kellie Quinn said her friends were looking for camping passes for the Watershed Country Music Festival. They found a posting on OfferUp that listed two passes for $500. The seller asked Quinn’s friend for a $250 deposit.
“So she sent the deposit through the Cash app, but it was rejected,” said Quinn. “The person on the other end said, ‘Do you have the Zelle app?’”
Quinn did not, and she’d never heard of it.
Zelle and Cash are similar to the money-sharing app Venmo. They’re called peer-to-peer payment apps. Instead of paying your friend with paper money, you send money through your cell phone with as little information as a phone number or email.
Quinn said the apps were convenient when it came to splitting restaurant tabs or quickly paying friends back.
“It’s simple and you think that it would be a good thing and convenient,” she added, “But not in this case.”
Quinn sent the money, has not heard back from the seller, and later found out the rejected Cash app transfer was flagged as fraud.
“I come to find out he’s a complete scam,” she said.
Quinn added the fact the Zelle app was new to her and could connect to her bank account gave her a false sense of security.
“When you go to set it up, it takes you directly back to your bank,” said Quinn. “You set it up all through your bank, so you have that confidence this is backed by my bank and I’m going to be protected, no problem.
“I’m accountable for pressing send, but they’re also accountable for making it easy… for scammers to take advantage.”
The Better Business Bureau has some tips like purchasing from the venue when possible, buying online from vendors you know and always using a credit card, so you have some recourse.
A Zelle spokesperson emailed KING 5 this statement:
“Zelle is intended as a replacement for cash and checks, and for sending money to individuals you know. It is not a payment platform for the purchase of goods and services, at this time, and as such it does not offer purchase protections, like credit cards where there are clearly understood and defined chargeback rules amongst two parties who likely do not know each other.”