COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It’s never been easier to make or take a payment. With a few taps on a phone screen, money can move through peer-to-peer payment apps like Cash App, Zelle and Venmo.

Unfortunately, these easy exchanges make it easier for fraudsters and hackers to carry out their own money-making schemes.

Viktoria Jurkovic with the Ohio’s Division of Financial Institutions said scams surrounding these apps have been a problem for years.

“And they continue to keep growing, and the money lost in it keeps getting larger,” Jurkovic said. 

And recently, consumers nationwide have been reporting a new scam that aims to steal their money and personal information.

The victims report receiving a text message that appears to come from Venmo, saying a sign-in to the user’s account was detected in a different city. The message goes on to say, “Not you? Tap the link to sign in now.” But that link leads to a fake website, made to look like Venmo’s, and asks the user to log into their Venmo account. If they do, the scammer then steals their login information, and has full access to their account.

Scams like this can be deceiving. There aren’t many red flags to look for, as it appears to come from a trusted source. That’s why Jurkovic said it’s on you to keep yourself safe.

Any time you receive a message or email claiming to come from a bank or payment app, don’t click on the link or call the phone number they provide. Go directly to the source, instead.

“The biggest precaution you can take is you,” Jurkovic said. “You need to do the due diligence. You need to make sure that when you’re visiting a website you think is legit, really heavily research to see if it is.”

But how does the scammer know that you have a Venmo account? They don’t. But millions of people do. So, they send the text, hoping the odds will play out in their favor.

And it’s important to know Venmo will never ask you for your password, PIN, or access codes via text message, email, phone call or any other means.