For National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Ford Encourages Caution When Using Peer-to-Peer Payment Platforms

Mar. 7, 2023

Carson City, NV – As the convenience of real-time payments becomes more popular, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford reminds all consumers to be cautious when using peer-to-peer or “P2P” payment platforms. These platforms allow instantaneous transfers of money between consumers for goods or services, and they may involve single transactions or feature a digital wallet for repeat transactions. However, not all P2P platforms are affiliated with regulated financial institutions, and there is significant variance in the security features among different P2P platforms.  

“While you can’t physically feel the currency that you exchange on peer-to-peer payment platforms, you should take the same precautions you would with cash” said AG Ford, “You probably would not give cash to a complete stranger. The difference with P2P payments is that the stranger may be hundreds or thousands of miles away, and the funds are transmitted digitally so you might not ever recover your money.”

    AG Ford offers tips for addressing some of the common risks associated with P2P payment platforms.

    • Stay informed. Before you register with any P2P platform, take the time to review its privacy policies and do an online search for customer reviews about the platform, its security features and refund policies; 
    • Only send money to trusted and verified accounts. P2P platforms often connect the purchaser and seller through email addresses or phone numbers that are registered with the platform. However, even when you know the other party, a minor typo in the registered email or phone number can cause your money to be sent to someone else. If you are purchasing goods or services, be sure that the number or email you provide is linked to the actual seller. If you are not sure for any reason (e.g., the P2P platform identifies the seller by an initial for their last name instead of their full last name), then contact the seller to verify how they are registered on the P2P platform before sending any payment; 
    • Keep your transactions private. Some P2P platforms have social media features where you can post information about your transactions and receive feedback.  While it may be fun to share future plans with actual friends or family, providing information about these purchases on social media may make it easier for impostors to send you unsolicited texts or email messages with “offers” for similar events; 
    • Link credit cards instead of debit cards to your account. Payments with credit cards provide additional protections if you don’t receive the goods you paid for; 
    • Create and maintain strong log-in credentials. When first creating your profile, use strong, unique passwords and change your passwords at least twice a year. Use multi-factor authentication if available, and disable automatic logins; and 
    • Stay aware. When shopping traditional retail sites, be cautious of companies that only accept payments through P2P platforms or with pre-paid debit cards.  

    The Federal Trade Commission has posted additional tips on identifying scams that use P2P platforms, and guidance for safely using these platforms.