O pix guarantees numerous facilities. In addition to being free, the platform offers immediate transactions even at dawn. But simplicity also opens the door to misuse. And believe me: there are those who use the transfer schedule to deceive attendants, salespeople, taxi drivers and the like, to make purchases or hire services without spending a penny.
I discovered this practice in a taxi in Rio de Janeiro (RJ). During the ride, the driver told me that he’s dealt with passengers who program a Pix instead of making immediate payment. Afterwards, the transfer is canceled and the taxi driver never sees the color of the money if he doesn’t verify his account immediately.
Other reports appear on social networks. On Twitter, one person claimed that, when making a sale, the customer even presented proof of the transaction. But then he discovered that he took a loss of R$ 50, as it was an appointment for a Pix that was later canceled, and not a transfer.
Faced with the situation, other users even offered tips to avoid the mishap. “Always ask to see proof of payment. There are people who schedule payment in bad faith, because Pix scheduled can be cancelled,” said one person.
There was even a tweet that highlighted some bottlenecks to use the Central Bank (BC) platform in these situations:
Fake Pix has already caused a loss of BRL 80,000 in the market
The matter also appeared in the regional press. On the 15th of September, the Brazilian Mail reported a case of a person who was arrested in Minas Gerais after carrying out a scam to buy hair. At the time, the scammer programmed a transfer of R$ 40 thousand that never reached the seller’s account.
A supermarket in Jaraguá do Sul (SC) was another victim, according to the ND More. In 2021, a customer made several purchases with Pix, but the money never showed up. Six months later, the establishment discovered the scam, but suffered a loss of BRL 80,000.
Another case of “fake Pix” was reported by the Northeast diary. In 2020, a person used a fake receipt of BRL 402.80 when making a purchase at a makeup store via WhatsApp. To throw off the victim, the author of the scam also made a Pix of R$ 0.01 for the bank to issue a notification of the transfer.
But, after all, is it possible to cancel a Pix?
Faced with the reports, some people asked themselves on social media if there is an option to cancel a Pix that has already been made. “I didn’t know you could cancel Pix,” one Twitter user asked. “They didn’t complete the operation, then,” commented another person about a case of canceled appointments after a purchase.
Others fear for this type of fraud. “I really wanted to know how they do it. Because I saw thousands of sellers talking about this scam and I, as a seller, am also afraid that it will happen to me”, said another person on the social network.
Well, right off the bat, I can tell you: you can’t cancel a Pix. And the confirmation comes from Febraban’s innovation and technology manager, Carolina Sansão: “the scammer does not cancel the transfer, he cancels the appointment made”, she told the technoblog.
“It is important to point out that when it comes to an appointment, on the receipt of the customer who makes the Pix, it is clearly written that it is an ‘schedule carried out’ and not a transaction carried out”, he said.
The manager also points out that “Pix transactions are irreversible after they are carried out”. Therefore, the payer cannot cancel the operation, with the exception of scheduling, as the amount has not even left the account. “The cancellation is not the transaction, but the payment schedule,” she concluded.
But what can you do to protect yourself from these scams?
To technoblog, Daniel Barbosa, an information security specialist at ESET, points out that most of the scams are social engineering. That is, criminals “induce victims to take actions that will harm them”.
The most important way to guard against a “Fake Pix” is to verify all the information that exists. According to Sansão, from Febraban, “it is extremely important that the seller reads the receipt and checks that it is just an appointment”. In other words, carefully check the document presented by the client:
“Check the receipt: if ‘Schedule completed’ appears instead of ‘Transfer carried out’ or ‘Payment carried out’, the operation was not carried out and may be cancelled”, he pointed out.
Barbosa also highlights that it is necessary to pay attention to the proof:
“If the date is in the past, it means he [o pagador] is sending proof of transfer made to another person/company”, he advised. “But if the date is in the future, the transfer has not yet taken place and the proof refers to the schedule, and this brings the possibility that the transfer will be canceled at any time.”
There are other methods to verify that the transaction was completed at that moment and with the agreed amount. Generally, financial institutions issue a mobile notification when a Pix is sent or received. The alert brings both the value and some information about who made the transfer.
The old extract is a great ally at these times. To make sure if Pix was made or not, just access the transaction history. Commercial establishments can also use an integrated system between the bank and the shopkeeper to verify that there are no problems with that sale.
Barbosa highlighted some more actions to make secure transactions with Pix:
- Validate the information used in the transfer, whether for sending or receiving resources;
- Always resort to the bank’s application to validate if a resource was actually sent or received;
- Be wary of approaches that require a lot of urgency. After all, criminals often use this urgency to distract victims, causing them to ignore important validations.
And where do banks enter this story?
Financial institutions guarantee numerous mechanisms to make Pix more secure. Whether by determination of the Central Bank or on their own initiative, banks offer resources to limit the value of transfers by schedule, prevent keys from being stolen, and so on. But the situation is different with cases of canceled appointments and false receipts.
“This type of scam, in which the receipt is false or an appointment is made, is completely out of the bank’s control, as it is not something that we can prevent through our systems”, said the manager of Febraban.
The ESET expert still remembers that Pix is considered extremely safe. “The Central Bank takes several security measures to make it robust and we have no information of scams involving the Pix system itself,” he explained.
Therefore, the tip remains the same: when receiving a payment via Pix, never fail to check the statement. Only then will you be absolutely sure that the transaction was carried out or not. After all, on Pix, transfers are immediate.