No good deed goes unpunished (literally!)

No good deed goes unpunished (literally!)

A new modality of theft targets smartphone owners that make P2P payments.

Do you have a wallet and payment app on your phone like Venmo, Cash, Apple Pay or Google Pay? Then please read this article.

Today we’re going to tell you about a simple, efficient new variety of theft.

The victim is someplace public, and someone comes up to them looking worried, claiming to have lost his/her phone; they ask to use the victim’s smartphone to call a friend/relative. The victim lends it out in good faith and stands aside while the person calls.

But then the person says that they aren’t answering, and they say they’re sending a text while typing away. They return the phone, and the victim is left thinking he/she has done that good deed of the day. What the person doesn’t know is that they might have just been robbed.

High speed theft

It’s very likely that the person who borrowed that phone has taken a few seconds to look for that payment app like Venmo, Cash, Google or Apple Pay. And if they found it, that the text message they sent was not a text but an order to pay themselves from the victim’s wallet app with just a few quick taps. The good Samaritan won’t realize the loss until later.

The thing is, Peer to Peer (P2P) payments are sent right away and the moment the beneficiary picks them up, it’s done, the sender is out the money and loses any right to request the money back. Thieves know this, and they will accept those payments right away.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help anyone who asks for help, or stop using this type of apps. Instead, consider using two-factor identification on those payment apps. That way, before sending any money you’ll be asked to enter your password or use fingerprint authentication. You get to do good deeds and keep your money safe.

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