(520) 724-5600 info@pcao.pima.gov

Fraud Resources

The Fraud Unit of the Pima County Attorney's Office wants to help you protect yourself and your financial health from being scammed. Use the links below to learn what you can do to safeguard your finances; to report an instance of fraud if you've been harmed; and to utilize resources that can help you recover your loss.

Fraud Tip of the Week

Zelle, Venmo, ApplePay, PayPal, Square Cash & PopMoney (also known as Peer-to-Peer or P2P Payment Services) are convenient methods of sending money quickly and safely from a credit card or bank account. Nearly 113 million Americans use these services. Although these services are fairly safe, they also have been used in scams. Unlike a credit card, sending money through Zelle only requires you to enter a name, phone number, or email address for the recipient to send them money. People committing this type of fraud have been seeking information through phishing emails, text messages or telephone calls to get victims to provide their personal information.

You may receive a call telling you that someone mistakenly used Zelle or another service to send you money that was intended for someone else. The person will ask you to return the funds. They may have put money into your account through a stolen credit card number or hacked bank account number, which you might see when you check your account. This scam is complicated. The person committing the fraud connects stolen credit card information, substituting your information for theirs so that when you send money back, you’re sending it to a different credit card and laundering money. You will end up losing money in the end.


-Before signing up for any P2P service, make sure you read its fraud protection rules. You’ll discover that you have few, if any, fraud protections with some of these services. You should never use these services to transfer money in commercial transactions; only use them for personal, small transfers to people you know and trust. To protect yourself, use dual-factor authentication, if provided (such as a confirmation call to a cell phone number or message to an email address), which will notify only you of the intended transaction.

-To avoid being hacked, never provide your username, password or PIN in response to any email, text message, or telephone call unless you have confirmed the requestors’ legitimacy. (It will seldom, if ever, be legit.) Even if the call appears to come from your bank or credit card company, the caller ID likely is “spoofed” – in other words, it looks like it’s coming from your bank or credit card company, but it’s someone else who has hacked into your bank or credit card company, making it look legit (i.e., your caller ID says it’s coming from Chase or Bank of America, but it’s really coming from the hacker). Trust none of these.

-If you receive money that you’re not expecting, check with your bank or credit card company immediately. No one should be depositing funds to your accounts unless you are expecting a refund or deposit from a legitimate source. Call your bank or credit card company immediately if you see an unusual transaction. And check your online accounts frequently. If you do online banking and see a transaction that doesn’t make sense, it likely is fraudulent.

Although legitimate mistakes happen, it’s more likely that someone is trying to defraud you.


Consumer Protection and Fraud Reporting Links

General Tips on Avoiding Fraud

Federal Trade Commission, How to Avoid a Scam  | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Frauds and ScamsFBI, Common Scams and Crimes

Please note that PCAO is not responsible for online content by other agencies. By statute, PCAO is limited to providing legal services to Pima County Government. If you need a lawyer, please contact counsel of your choosing or the Pima County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at (520) 623-4625.