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Zelle Fraud Is Rising. And Banks Aren’t Coming to the Rescue

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Authorized” vs “Unauthorized:” Under a federal rule known as Regulation E, banks are technically only liable to cover fraudulent activity when it involves “unauthorized” transactions. Say, when someone steals your credit card and makes purchases without your permission. But if someone persuades you to send them $500 through a phishing scam, banks consider that “authorized” and won’t reimburse those funds.
The post Zelle Fraud Is Rising. And Banks Aren’t Coming to the Rescue first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Analysis by Allison Morrow and CNN Business | The Atlanta Voice

Zelle, the popular payment app, is under fire for how it handles (or rather, doesn’t handle) fraud and scams that have exploded on the platform in recent years.

The New York Times called Zelle out in two reports earlier this year. That grabbed the attention of US senators, who pressed the CEOs of the nation’s large banks that own the platform in hearings last month and began an investigation into the service.

Here’s the deal: On Monday, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office said its investigation into Zelle showed that fraud and theft are not only rampant but getting worse. And once people report fraudulent transactions, banks are reimbursing only a small fraction of the swindled customers.

“Big banks own and profit from Zelle but are failing to make their customers whole for both authorized and unauthorized fraudulent activity on the platform, despite their claims that it is safe,” Warren’s office wrote.

Key things to know:

  • Zelle (rhymes with “tell”) was created in 2017 as the banking industry’s answer to Venmo and Cash App.
  • The fintech companies behind those apps were doing what big banks had failed to do for decades — make transferring money to your friend who just paid for dinner easy and free and fast.
  • So the big banks got together and created Zelle, which was lame and almost no one used it till around 2020, when digital payments took off in response to the pandemic.
  • Zelle is now by far the largest peer-to-peer payment system in America. Last year, according to Zelle, transactions totaled $490 billion, up 59% from the year before. (PayPal-owned Venmo, its closest rival, handled $230 billion.)
  • The service is operated by Early Warning Systems, a fintech company owned by seven of the US’s largest banks.

Naturally, where the internet and money collide is where scammers get to work.

Zelle’s size and accessibility — it’s built right into participating banks’ apps — make it the “preferred tool of fraudsters and other bad actors,” according to the report from Warren’s office.

Among the investigation’s key findings, which corroborate anecdotal evidence reported by the Times:

Banks are not repaying 90% of cases in which customers were tricked into making payments on Zelle.

An estimated $440 million was lost by Zelle users through frauds and scams in 2021. But banks “appear not to have provided sufficient recourse to their customers.”

“Authorized” vs “Unauthorized:” Under a federal rule known as Regulation E, banks are technically only liable to cover fraudulent activity when it involves “unauthorized” transactions. Say, when someone steals your credit card and makes purchases without your permission. But if someone persuades you to send them $500 through a phishing scam, banks consider that “authorized” and won’t reimburse those funds.

BUT… The bank data reviewed by Warren’s office suggest even the bulk of unauthorized cases are going unpaid. For example: PNC Bank indicated that its customers reported 10,683 cases of unauthorized payments totaling over $10.6 million. It refunded only 1,495 cases, totaling $1.46 million.

Zelle sought to downplay the report and didn’t specifically address Warren’s allegations Monday. In a statement, the company said: “Tens of millions of consumers use Zelle without incident, with more than 99.9% of payments completed without any report of fraud or scam,” adding that the proportion of fraud and scams has steadily decreased as its user numbers have climbed.

The Bank Policy Institute, a banking industry group, also disputed Warren’s findings and claimed that Zelle’s rivals Venmo and CashApp receive more reports of disputed transactions.

“Zelle is the safest peer-to-peer network,” it said in a statement Monday. “For any real discussion of online fraud, the focus belongs elsewhere.”

BOTTOM LINE

It’s kind of crazy to remember how anyone moved money among friends before the advent of payment apps. Did I actually carry cash with me? On the first every month did I take my little checkbook out and literally write out my portion of the rent on a magic slip of paper and then just hand it to my roommates? Wild. It would not surprise me if the original idea for a payments app came from a restaurant server who was fed up with splitting bills unevenly across eight different cards.

But that’s the pre-internet world Regulation E was made for. It’s a 1978 rule that only got a 21st century electronic payments update by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau late last year. It wasn’t made for the world of instant payments, and could hardly have envisioned how easy the internet would make it to swindle people out of their money.

Warren’s report on Zelle could add pressure on regulators including the CFPB to update its guidance.

“Given this uncertain landscape and the banks’ abdication of responsibility, regulatory clarity is needed to further protect Zelle users,” researchers wrote in the report, noting that the CFPB has regulatory authority over peer-to-peer platforms including Zelle.

The post Zelle fraud is rising. And banks aren’t coming to the rescue appeared first on The Atlanta Voice.

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IN MEMORIAM International Soccer Icon Pelé Dies at 82

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves. 

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Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Pelé, the international star who was instrumental in three World Cup championships with Brazil across three decades and who energized U.S. soccer with the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, has died.

The 82-year-old legend had been hospitalized since November, and his doctors reported that Pelé’s cancer had advanced, requiring care related to renal and cardiac dysfunction.

He has been receiving regular treatment since doctors removed a tumor from his colon in 2021.

“Father. My strength is yours,” the international star’s son, Edinho, posted on social media.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

He led the Brazilian national teams to World Cup glory in 1958, 1962, and 1970.

In 1956, he joined the Santos Football Club, where he played inside left forward, winning nine São Paulo league championships and, in 1962 and 1963, the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup.

Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves.

“After the 1958 World Cup, Pelé was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government to ward off large offers from European clubs and ensure that he would remain in Brazil,” Britannica researchers wrote.

On Nov. 19, 1969, in his 909th first-class match, he scored his 1,000th goal.

Pelé made his international debut in 1957 at age 16 and played his first game in the World Cup finals in Sweden the following year.

The Brazilian manager was initially hesitant to play his young star. But, according to Britannica, when Pelé finally reached the field, he had an immediate impact, rattling the post with one shot and collecting an assist.

He had a hat trick in the semifinal against France and two goals in the championship game, where Brazil defeated Sweden 5–2. At the 1962 World Cup finals, Pelé tore a thigh muscle in the second match and had to sit out the remainder of the tournament.

Nonetheless, Brazil went on to claim its second World Cup title.

Researchers said rough play and injuries turned the 1966 World Cup into a disaster for Brazil and Pelé, as the team went out in the first round, and he contemplated retiring from World Cup play.

Returning in 1970 for one more World Cup tournament, he teamed with young stars Jairzinho and Rivelino to claim Brazil’s third title and permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Trophy. Pelé finished his World Cup career, scoring 12 goals in 14 games.

Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a worldwide star.

His team Santos toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity. For example, in 1967, he and his team traveled to Nigeria, where a 48-hour cease-fire in that nation’s civil war was called to allow all to watch the great player.

Pelé announced his retirement in 1974 but, in 1975, agreed to a three-year $7 million contract with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and to promote the game in the United States. He retired after leading the Cosmos to the league championship in 1977.

Pelé was the recipient of the International Peace Award in 1978. In 1980 he was named Athlete of the Century by the French sports publication L’Equipe, and he received the same honor in 1999 from the International Olympic Committee. In 2014 the Pelé Museum opened in Santos, Brazil.

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COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips

THE AFRO — Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours. 
The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Megan Sayles | AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
msayles@afro.com

We’ve all heard the age-old saying that “hard work pays off.”  But, sometimes, working too hard can do more harm than good.

“Burnout” is a form of work-related stress in which an individual experiences physical, emotional or mental exhaustion caused by their job’s demands. It can also make workers feel distanced from their jobs and engender negative feelings about them, according to the World Health Organization.

Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours.

This makes it even more important for people to know the signs of burnout and the strategies to combat it.

Natasha Charles is the founder and CEO of Intuitive Coaching with Natasha Charles, a comprehensive life coaching and consulting firm. She created the business after gaining 20 years in senior administration roles.

Charles was motivated to open the firm in 2018 out of a desire to create a business focused on inspiring continuous improvement. There, she works with individuals and executives to create lives that they love and offers them personalized solutions to address critical work and business challenges.

“It’s really about thinking about you, the person, and all that you are,” Charles said. “People tend to be very focused on one aspect of their life, and a lot of times, it’s about their career, so it’s really about making space for all of your goals and all of your dreams.”

When someone experiences burnout, Charles said they could be actively doing their job while simultaneously worrying about their other responsibilities and priorities, whether personal or work-related. She also stressed that burnout can be experienced no matter what profession you are in and what you are being paid.

Aside from the physical and mental impacts of stress, burnout can impact finances if it causes an employee to take extended periods of time off or miss work, according to Charles. It can also reduce their productivity.

In the beginning of 2022, the term “quiet quitting” emerged, and for some, it’s being used as a method to avoid burnout. It involves individuals meeting the minimum requirements of their job descriptions, investing no extra time or effort than what is mandatory.

For Charles, quiet quitting is a signal that a person is not fulfilled by their job and may need to think about changing workplaces or careers.

“I get that people are not always able to up and quit, and it can take time to find what that next role is,” Charles said. “I would come from a space of encouraging the person to start thinking about what that is. What is it that you ultimately desire to be doing in your life and seeing your work?”

One of the most important steps in reducing and preventing burnout is educating yourself about the syndrome, so you can be aware of the warning signs, according to Charles. She also said it was crucial for employers to talk to their employees about it.

Awareness can help prevent the shame and guilt that comes with burnout and allow people to give themselves grace.

After a person has weighed whether they are experiencing burnout or not, they should think about how they want to confront it. This could include engaging in self-care, asking for extra support at work or home, and creating stronger boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

When burnout is impacting your performance, it’s time to consider making a career change, Charles said.

To ensure your work life does not invade your personal life, Charles said people need to assess the goals they have for all areas of their life. Once you’ve set goals, it’s easier to devise a plan and set the necessary boundaries to achieve them.

Charles also said it’s important to carve out time for yourself where you’re not constantly checking your phone or email for work reasons.

“There is life beyond your work. There is an entire world out there to be discovered,” Charles said. “There’s a world within us to be discovered as well, and I encourage everyone to invest in discovering those pieces.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting 

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.
The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Canadian rapper Tory Lanez faces more than 20 years in prison and deportation after a jury in Los Angeles found him guilty in the 2020 shooting of hip hop star Megan Thee Stallion.

Lane, 30, was found guilty of three felony counts, including assault with an unregistered semiautomatic weapon, carrying a loaded gun, and discharging a firearm in a vehicle with gross negligence.

The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.

The 27-year-old Megan, whose real name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanez offered her hush money and didn’t care about her injuries and pain suffered because he shot her.

Lanez, who declined to testify, claimed there was another shooter, Pete’s friend who was also arguing with the hit maker as they drove home from a party.

“[Lanez] told me to dance,” Pete told the jury, adding that he also cursed at her following the shooting.

Sentencing for Lanez is scheduled for Jan. 27.

“You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said, referring to Pete.

“You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face, and you have been an inspiration to others across LA County and the nation.”

The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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