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May 12, 2020
AARP Survey Finds Majority of Americans Using Payment Apps Unaware of Danger Posed by Scammers
Be Aware of P2P Risks When Paying for Groceries, Other Services During Pandemic

WASHINGTON —According to a new AARP survey, seven in ten (71%) rely on peer-to-peer (P2P) payment platforms to transfer money in a relatively quick and easy manner. The poll also found that about half (52%) believe they are able to reclaim money sent in error.

While the platforms are convenient, the difficulty of recovering funds sent through them makes the technology, and those who use it, uniquely vulnerable to scammers. This may especially be the case as more people use delivery services for groceries and other necessities during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know scammers are already capitalizing on anxieties and fears around coronavirus. With so many people at home, consumers should be alert for possible scams on peer-to-peer payment platforms,” said Kathy Stokes, AARP Director of Fraud Prevention Programs. “It is crucial for people to know how these platforms work and sending money to someone you don’t know presents significant risk.”

Common P2P payment platforms include PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Square, Google Pay and Apple Pay. The Peer to Peer Payment Practices and Associated Risks report details how often people are using these platforms, reasons for using them, and the risks associated with using them. The report also highlights the widespread misuse of P2P tools due to insufficient understanding of how the platforms work.

The survey findings include:

  • 71% of U.S. adults report using P2P payment platforms. Among those, users say they sometimes (24%), frequently (35%) or rarely (41%) use P2P payment platforms.
  • More education is needed to raise awareness on how P2P payment platforms operate. Over half (52%) of U.S. adults incorrectly answered a quiz question about being able to reclaim your money if you make an error sending money through a P2P payment platform.
  • U.S. adults are using P2P payment platforms to send money to people they don’t know. When making a purchase through an online bidding site, over half (53%) send the money to a seller with whom they have previously never done business and three in five (61%) send the money to a seller rated highly for fulfillment and delivery.

The survey was conducted by NORC, on behalf of AARP, from November 4-8, 2019. View the full report at This report reflects results from a larger survey among 2,842 U.S. adults ages 18 and older which highlights people’s experiences with peer-to-peer payment platforms. The survey has a sampling margin of error of ±2.5 percent.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages. Consumers may sign up for “Watchdog Alert” emails that deliver information about scams, or call a free helpline at 877-908-3360 to report scams or get help from trained volunteers in the event someone falls victim to scammers’ tactics. The Fraud Watch Network website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map and access to AARP’s hit podcast series, The Perfect Scam.

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.