The Costs of Zelle Fraud to Banks and Credit Unions

Zelle fraud is a serious issue that affects countless consumers, banks, and credit unions across the country. But just how prevalent is Zelle fraud? … And can advanced artificial intelligence help financial institutions mitigate its devastating effects?

 “You created the perfect weapon for criminals to use, and they have used it, and you have not stood behind your customers.” – Sen. Elizabeth Warren

It’s estimated that $440 million was lost by Zelle users through scam transactions in 2021 alone. And last year, 2022, consumers reported losing $1.59 billion through various bank transfer/payments scams.

Unfortunately, as more consumers embrace payments systems like Zelle, and with FedNow coming online, real time payments fraud is very likely to rise in both volume and dollar terms this year; and the costs of Zelle fraud to banks and credit unions may only grow.

A recent FICO survey of 14,000 global consumers showed:

  • 72% of Americans received an unsolicited text, email, phone call or other outreach they thought was part of a scam.
  • Nearly half of respondents say their family and friends have been victims of scams.
  • 25% of Americans lost $5K to scams, while 46% lost up to $500.
  • 64% think banks should have better fraud detection systems.
  • 59% take responsibility for sending funds to a scammer.
  • 14% say their banks are responsible if they send a payment to a scammer.
  • 10% say the bank receiving the payment shares the responsibility.

While a majority (59%) took personal responsibility for sending funds to scammers via platforms like Zelle, 64% believe their financial institutions should be doing far more when it comes to fraud detection and prevention.

And they’re right.

By implementing an effective Zelle fraud strategy that utilizes real-time fraud detection and prevention, powered by artificial intelligence, not only could your institution be keeping your depositors more safe from Zelle fraud, but it would likely alleviate the concerns of 64% of the population who believe you should have a better, modernized fraud detection system.

And there is no better real-time transactional fraud detection and prevention system than RembrandtAi. More on this in a moment.


The Costs of Zelle Fraud to Banks and Credit Unions

Zelle fraud can result in direct financial losses for banks and credit unions. When a customer’s account is compromised, and fraudsters steal their money, the financial institution may be liable for lost funds.

As a result, the bank or credit union may suffer significant financial losses. These losses include not only reimbursement expenses for frauds they are liable for, but for the expenses involved in investigating frauds, whether the institution is liable or not.

Potential New Regulatory Policies

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said, “Scammers have been able to defraud millions of Americans through Zelle and other payment platforms due to weak security protections and limited recourse for those who have lost money.

“More must be done to stop these scams and that’s why last year several of my colleagues and I urged the banks in the Zelle network to do more to protect their customers.”

In a statement regarding Zelle fraud, a spokesperson from Early Warning Services recently said, “I can confirm that Zelle is revising its network rules as part of ongoing efforts to protect users against the most recent fraudulent schemes. We will not issue details because we then risk tipping off the fraudsters.”

While Early Warning Systems (Zelle) itself announced some new fraud protections this spring, federal and state regulators may be forced to go a step further. And this may eventually mean banks and credit unions could be responsible for more depositor losses than they currently are.

Customer Protection Regulations

A potential upcoming rule your institution may be required to follow involves “customer protection regulations.” For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provides guidelines on best practices for reducing Zelle fraud, which includes recommendations for client education as well as fraud detection and prevention.

Fines And Penalties

When financial institutions like banks and credit unions don’t follow the current rules set by regulators, they might be hit with penalties like fines. A bank can face monetary fines and other penalties that affect its operations, such as a halt to accepting deposits or processing transactions. Should the regulatory bodies institute new rules or laws, these fines (and consumer reimbursements) may grow substantially.

Reputation Damage

The reputation of a financial institution might take a serious hit if it experiences multiple cases of Zelle fraud and refuses to reimburse its depositors.

If consumers lose money due to fraud on the Zelle platform, they may decide that their bank or credit union is not doing enough to safeguard them, and they may stop using the institution altogether. Depositor outflow should be a serious concern to every institution that has not yet deployed modern artificial intelligence-based fraud detection and prevention systems.

And there is none better than RembrandtAi.

Introducing RembrandtAi

RembrandtAi utilizes advanced artificial intelligence to identify and prevent fraudulent transactions. Because it operates in near real-time, almost any and all fraudulent transactions could be immediately flagged for investigatory review.

Keep in mind, this occurs in real-time, not after data is batched.

RembrandtAi can be automated to ensure your institution and your depositors are better protected from fraudulent activity. With RembrandtAi, detecting and preventing fraud has never been easier.

Our AI-based, real-time fraud detection and prevention system utilizes top-of-the-line, customized and adaptive analytics, a type of predictive analytics that collects and analyzes real-time data rather than historical data alone.

While fraudsters are constantly inventing new ways to fool systems, RembrandtAi prioritizes detecting new fraud techniques by analyzing and studying current trends and predicting where new frauds may occur in the future.

If you had an opportunity to cost effectively reduce the amount of fraud, and fraud reimbursements to your members, and better assure they remain as members of your institution, you’d surely jump on it, right?

RembrandtAi gives you that opportunity.

Discover how RembrandtAi can help detect Zelle fraud, and reduce overall transactional frauds at your institution by visiting us HERE.