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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Avoid This Common Scam: We’ll Never Ask You That

At First Merchants, your security is our number one priority. To help ensure our customers have the most up-to-date information on how they can keep their personal information and their assets safe and secure, we’ve put together an updated list of red flags to help you avoid a trending scam.

The Peer-to-Peer Payment Service Scam

In this latest scam, a scammer will send you a text message that looks like a legitimate bank fraud alert asking you to verify a specific purchase.

When you respond to this message, the scammer will call you from a number that appears to belong to your bank. This scam is highly targeted and sophisticated and may involve the scammer transferring you to their “manager” – another fraudster – to further pressure your or try to gain your trust.

They will ask you to send money to yourself with Zelle or another peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service, and then ask you for a one-time authentication code you receive as a result.

If you give them this code, they will gain access to your bank accounts via the P2P service.

You can learn more about this scam from this helpful video produced by Zelle.

Remember, We’ll Never Ask You That

While First Merchants Bank may contact you to alert you of unusual activity, we will never request that you pay us, or anyone, using Zelle or another P2P service. And we will never ask for your multi-factor authentication details.

Scammers contacting customers in this manner is called “spoofing” and involves a scammer manipulating caller ID to appear as if they are calling from a legitimate business -- like a bank or the Internal Revenue Service – to try to get at your personal information.

Our attentive team members will never ask you to:

  • Provide personal details like your address, social security number, or bank account number.
  • Pay the bank using Zelle or another payment service.
  • “Pay yourself” using Zelle or another service.
  • Pay others using Zelle or another service.
  • Provide your multi-factor authentication link or code.
  • Take immediate, on-the-phone action.

How Can You Stay Safe?

Here are some ways you can protect yourself and avoid common scams:

  • Do not give anyone your personal information over the phone or via a text message.
  • Only use Zelle and other payment services to pay trusted family and friends. Never use it for business, fraud resolutions, or online purchases.
  • If someone is pressuring you to take immediate action, refuse.
  • Verify bank account alerts by calling us from the customer service number on our website. Or, better yet, visit your local, welcoming banker to discuss any concerns with your account.
  • Set your social media to “private” and remove personal information such as your e-mail address and phone number.
  • Don’t always trust Caller ID – it can be easily compromised.


Remember, scams are constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay up to date on trending scams and on recommended steps to keep your information safe and secure.

Read our guide on using Zelle and other services safely.

If you think you have encountered this scam, you can report it here. If your bank account has been compromised using this – or any other scam – please contact First Merchants Bank immediately at 1.800.205.3464.