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I just set up an account with Zelle because that’s how my buyer needed to pay for tires I’m selling, she sent me $400 well Zelle made her send an additional $400 because they said the amount sent means I needed a business account. Well now they want me to send my buyer back $400 of my own money before they release the $800. I don’t have $400 and I didn’t know any of this or I wouldn’t have done it. I don’t even see the $800 on my account pending. I just want them to send the $800 back to the buyer what can I do?

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    Did you set up your Zelle account through your bank, through the Zelle website that you found the link for yourself, or through a link that the person sent to you? How were you notified about the issue? Email? You're being scammed, but these details will help determine how.
    – anjama
    Jan 14, 2023 at 18:03
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    They don't want your tyres. They want your money.
    – Valorum
    Jan 14, 2023 at 22:23
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    You're being scammed. Jan 15, 2023 at 9:04
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    You're about to be victim to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpayment_scam.
    – ceejayoz
    Jan 15, 2023 at 15:50
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    I just want to add that OP is actually asking the exact right question, so kudos for that! The way to deal with refunds is always "get the bank/credit card to reverse the transaction", not "send the buyer back some money." In this case, I agree with others that the situation is definitely a scam — but good on OP for trying to resolve it the right way, rather than blindly following the scammer's request to send them money.
    – yshavit
    Jan 15, 2023 at 20:02

4 Answers 4

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You are being scammed. You are not dealing with the real Zelle. Legitimate purchases never involve sending money back to the buyer. Stop all contact. Do not send them any money.

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    OP could be working with Zelle legitimately. I'm guessing that the scammer is sending a spoofed email from Zelle to OP (OP gave the scammer their email so they could "transfer" the funds). It'd be a lot easier than trying to set up a fake Zelle website and if the website was fake, they would already be linked up to something financial and wouldn't need OP to send money back
    – anjama
    Jan 14, 2023 at 18:03
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    @anjama good point, OP could interact with zellepay.com directly (by typing ZELLE into Google, not clicking on any links in emails or whatever!!!!) and then log into their account and then change their email address. Any Zelle correspondence that goes to the old one and not the new one, is fake. Jan 16, 2023 at 9:00
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    @anjama I think based on "they want me to send my buyer back $400 of my own money before they release the $800" the OP is receiving communications from an impostor Zelle. True, they may have also created an account with the real Zelle.
    – nobody
    Jan 16, 2023 at 14:32
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica just an addendum to your comment: if you are going to access a website of a company through Google, also avoid clicking on the "sponsored" links (usually the first and up to third ones) as they can be (and have been) used to take users to forged sites.
    – Josh Part
    Jan 16, 2023 at 17:25
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Zelle does not have a concept of "business account" other than the bank account it is tied to, whether it is a business account or a personal account. See this article for some details of how it works with business accounts.

Zelle does not have a limit of money that sets off needing a business account, other than what bank limits may apply to Zelle for particular bank accounts (for example, my bank limits me to sending $1500 per week in my personal account). Read your bank's rules for the specifics. What's important here is that Zelle, unlike PayPal or Venmo, is less of an independent organization and is more a format your bank offers to exchange money with other banks; it is a company started by several banks and is implemented at the individual bank level for actually sending and receiving money (via ACH). [Side note, this would still be a scam in PayPal or Venmo also; but it's even less believable for Zelle.]

This is 100% definitely a scam. Walk away.

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SCAM! Flaming scam.

They are scamming you. They have never sent a single dime. Their objective is to con you out of $400.

(And then later, it'll be more, that's how these confidence games work. Note how you believe you're dealing with Zelle, even though you really aren't.)

You might think Internet scammers are stupid, because of the dumb come-ons you see on phishing emails and the like. But they're not. Scammers are some of the smartest people on earth. Those come-ons are dumb on purpose, as discussed here.

Be clear: Scammers are smart. They're really practiced at tricking people like you and me. If it didn't work, they wouldn't do it.

I can tell it's a scam because they convinced you to set up a Zelle account.

Zelle is generally irreversible (and reversing wouldn't help)

And that's why they conned you into setting up a Zelle account. They want you to send them money via Zelle, and then it is simply GONE.

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Every chance they get, Zelle says in the strongest possible way to only send money to people you know and trust. They mean it! When you ignore those instructions, they go "tough beans! This is your fault for misusing our service." And they're right.

While there are consumer protection laws, they only help with errors or unauthorized transactions. They do nothing for consensual transfers where there was a disagreement between sender and recipient.

You can't even sue Zelle, because their terms have an arbitration clause, and you know how that goes.

Zelle is so risky for scams that I absolutely cannot recommend it. Time was, to do an irreversible trasfer, you'd have to do a wire transfer with a human at the bank, or deal with Western Union, or go to a Bitcoin ATM. These oddball acts were "circuit breakers" that would make you pause to think, and question your confidence in the other party. But Zelle makes it too easy. If Zelle would provide purchase and scam protection, I'd change my mind. But they'd go broke if they did that LOL!

I see Zelle as a product without a use. My friends and family all have PayPal, and since Zelle's whole thesis is that I should know them face to face, well, there's cash!

They never sent any money.

Because if they did, it would have already appeared in your account. That is Zelle's whole sales pitch!

The $800 won't show up. It never existed. Walk into your bank and ask your bank manager. Sit down together at their terminal and have them navigate to real Zelle and look. Not there.

They don't actually want your tires. This is not a legitimate customer. Put them on "ignore" and put the listing back up. Focus your energy on actual customers (who deal face to face - on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and other such sites, literally everyone who won't meet face to face (or wants things shipped) is a scammer.

If you want a non-face-to-face transaction, use a better-secured platform like eBay). But for a high weight-to-value commodity like tires, that is dumb because tires are available everywhere and shipping is very costly these days.

By the way, Zelle is trackable. But these people run networks of scams. If you had sent the money, it would have gone to a patsy - another victim, who would be conned into sending it via Bitcoin or Western Union, which are un-trackable. If you "followed the money" via Zelle, you'd only find another victim.

she sent me $400 well Zelle made her send an additional $400

No they didn't.

Well now they want me to send my buyer back $400 of my own money before they release the $800.

No. Zelle would never, ever ask that. If you think that you are talking to Zelle, you're talking to the scammer. I gather you got a fake email from Zelle and clicked a link on it or used a phone number off it?

If you need to talk to actual real Zelle, then go to Google and type "Zelle" and click the obvious link - which I think will be zellepay.com.

The only thing I would say to Zelle is "I was tricked into creating an account, I do not want, I do not agree, especially not to an arb clause".

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    There is a Zelle that allows people to dispute transactions - it's called PayPal. Everyone hates it. For good reason.
    – user253751
    Jan 16, 2023 at 15:34
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    @user4556274 I personally didn't read it as a dangling "and", I read it as rolling into the next part of the answer, but that could just be me Jan 16, 2023 at 19:15
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    @user253751: I came to the conclusion on studying the matter that the entire product class can't exist due to being a scam magnet. I had said to the banking industry long ago, fix it by producing your own implementation. Unfortunately that didn't work either; so it's really time to fall back to checks.
    – Joshua
    Jan 16, 2023 at 19:28
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    @user4556274 Whoops. Fixed. Jan 16, 2023 at 20:20
  • Zelle is subject to consumer banking laws just like everyone else, and they're subject to the CFPB. They absolutely do have to do the same kinds of fraud protection that everyone else does, including reversing charges. elliott.org/problem-solved/… Jan 17, 2023 at 0:27
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The buyer (and the Zelle person contacting you) is the same person; the scammer.

They didn't send you any money and want to milk you for free $.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpayment_scam

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  • Yes. It was all a scam thank you! Don’t trust anyone trying to by something on a site with Zelle. They had legit looking emails they are definitely scamming more people . I reported it to Facebook.
    – Lisa
    Jan 28, 2023 at 6:07

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