Avoid payment transfer scams

With Google Pay, you can send money to or receive money from family and friends you trust. Sometimes, bad actors might try to use Google Pay to steal money from you. To help protect you from fraud, follow these guidelines.

Keep in mind that once a money transfer is complete, it’s not possible for Google Pay to retrieve your money

1. Never use money transfers to make purchases or sales

Important: Do not make purchases using money transfers. You could lose your money without ever getting what you paid for.

Scammers often post fake online advertisements or start deceptive online conversations about: 

  • Something for sale, like tickets to concert and sporting events, electronics, a vehicle, or a pet
  • Personal relationships, like a person looking for romance
  • A service, like tech support 
  • Financial help, like debt relief or a loan
  • Job, real estate, or money-making opportunities 
  • Something for rent, like an apartment.
    • Tip: You can use Google Pay for rent, but you should never make payments before you do things like inspect the property, sign paperwork, and receive keys.

If you reach out to express interest, the scammer may request that you transfer money first or even show you a fake shipping receipt that the item is on its way. Then, the scammer will keep the money, and never give you what you paid for.

Do not attempt sales using money transfers

Scammers often seek out sellers and try to convince them to provide items or services, with no intention of paying. 

Failure to pay scam
For example, if you’re selling something, a scammer may contact you posing as an interested potential buyer. When you agree on a price, they may state that they’ll pay you using a money transfer as soon as they receive what you’re selling. Then, after they receive what you’ve sold them, they never pay for it.
Tip: Scammers often send fake Google Pay screenshots that make it look like they made a payment.
Request instead of send scam

If you try to sell a good or service, a scammer may contact you posing as an interested potential buyer. When you agree on a price, they may ask to pay you using a money transfer. Then, instead of sending you money, they request money to try to trick you into paying them

To avoid this scam, remember that you don’t need to take any action to receive money in Google Pay.

2. Only transfer money with people you know & trust

To avoid the majority of scams, transact only with people you know well and trust.

Often, scammers try to get you to act fast, without thinking. To do this, they often use deals that are too good to be true, emotional topics, or fake businesses that sound real. 

Learn about common scams

Important: This is not an exhaustive list of all scams.

Customer service or tech support scam

Sometimes, scammers pose as Google customer service or tech support to request money transfers. Google customer service or tech support will never ask for: 

  • Your passwords, passcodes, or password reset link
  • PINs (personal identification numbers)
  • Debit or credit card info
  • Bank information, like account numbers
  • Personal information like address or Social Security Number
  • You to download an app to receive support or solve a problem

If you’re asked to do any of these things, it’s a scam.

For Google support, visit support.google.com.

Puppy or pet scam
A scammer creates a fake advertisement for a puppy or another type of pet. If you contact them, they may request that you send payment before they deliver the animal. Then, if you pay, you will never receive the puppy or pet.
Make money quick scam
A scammer requests money and says they’ll invest it to send you back more. This is always a scam.
Prize winner scam
A scammer contacts you and states that you’ve won a contest, sweepstakes, or lottery and just need to pay taxes or a fee to claim your prize. Then, the scammer requests that you pay fake taxes or a fee to complete the scam.
Tax bill or debt scam
A scammer contacts you and states that you owe back taxes or a debt and need to make a money transfer to avoid consequences. Then, the scammer requests that you pay the fake back taxes or debt to complete the scam.
Fake check scam
After getting in contact with you, the scammer asks that you deposit a check and then send them money or products. Once the bank realizes the scammer’s check is fake, the money from the fake check will disappear, leaving you with less money than you had originally.
Romance scam
A scammer may create an online post or reach out to you directly. They may make promises about starting a romantic relationship, and suggest that they need money to get out of a bad situation or travel to you, for example. Then, if you pay, the scammer may either disappear or continue to request money.
Loved one in need scam
A scammer contacts you posing as a loved one in need, or an authority figure with knowledge of your loved one. They may suggest that your loved one is in need, and requires a money transfer to get help, like medical, legal, or travel assistance. To avoid a scam, contact your loved one directly or family members with knowledge of their situation before considering any money transfers.
Money received scam

If money is sent to you by someone who isn’t a close friend or family member, do not send the money back directly. Instead, contact us

If someone you know and trust accidentally sends you money, you can choose to send the money back directly.

How the scam works

Scammers may use stolen forms of payment to send money to unsuspecting people, and then request that an equal sum of money be sent back. If you receive money from a form of payment that was stolen by a scammer, that money could be removed from your account. Do not send the money back. If you send your own money back, the stolen funds you received can also be removed from your account. If that happens, you’ll end up with less money in your account than you had before you received the scam payment. 

Immigration scam
Scammers often suggest that they can provide services to help with immigration. If someone suggests you pay for immigration services using a money transfer, it’s a scam.
Legal action scam
A scammer contacts you and states that you have a legal action pending against you. For example, the scammer might state that you need to pay immediately for traffic tickets or a missed court date to avoid being arrested. To avoid a scam, contact the relevant authority directly, for example, your local courthouse or law enforcement.

Always protect your personal financial details and other sensitive info

If someone requests personal financial details or other sensitive info on Google Pay, it’s a scam. Google customer service or tech support will never ask for:

  • Your passwords, passcodes, or password reset link
  • PINs (personal identification numbers)
  • Debit or credit card info
  • Bank information, like account numbers
  • Personal information like address or Social Security Number
  • You to download an app to receive support or solve a problem

If you’re asked to do any of these things, it’s a scam.

Important: The only place you should enter sensitive info for use with Google Pay is in the Google Pay app or at pay.google.com.

3. Avoid other types of suspicious requests

Scammers may pose as customer support or use emails, text messages, phone calls, and web pages to pretend to be institutions, family members, or colleagues.

Never download apps or software for payments support

Google will never ask you to download an app or software for payments support. If you’re asked to download an app or software for payments support, it’s a scam that could be used to drain your accounts.

Avoid suspicious requests
  • Never give out your passwords. Google will never ask for your password in an email, message, or phone call.
  • Never give out your personal or financial info. Don’t reply to suspicious emails, texts, instant messages, webpages, or phone calls that ask for your personal or financial info.
  • Never click links in emails, messages, webpages, or pop-ups from unknown websites or senders.
Avoid suspicious emails

Gmail is designed to help protect your account by automatically identifying suspicious emails. You can also use these tips to help you identify suspicious emails and settings:

Tip: If you're using Gmail on your computer, point to a link without clicking on it. At the bottom left, look at the web address and make sure it's what you expect.

Avoid suspicious web pages

Google Chrome and Search are designed to warn you about suspicious content and unwanted software.

Learn how to manage these warnings in Chrome and Search.

Avoid requests or payments from scammers posing as your friends or family

With social media, it’s easier than ever for scammers to get information and pictures they can use to pose as friends or family members online. If someone who’s not in your contact list requests money, Google Pay will alert you when you try to make a payment. 

  • If the person isn’t someone you know: Tap Block and report as spam. When you report spam, Google can use that information to help block the scammer in the future.
  • If the person appears to be someone you know, reach out to the person directly with the contact info you normally use to communicate with them.
    • If they did send the request for money or payment, you can decide whether you want to complete the request.
    • If they did not send the request for money or payment, the request is likely a scam. Decline the request.

Protect your Google Account to help secure Google Pay

Report scams & fraud

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