Christina Ricci Heads Up the S.A.F.E. Squad in Digital Security Awareness Campaign

Vox Media and Zelle have teamed up to take a bite out of digital crime

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Taking defensive precautions against fraud is more necessary than ever. According to the FTC, online scams increased by more than 30% between 2021 and 2022, with 2.4 million consumers reporting some form of fraud last year.

Facing this rise in online threats, digital payments service Zelle and Vox Media have teamed up for a public safety campaign. Tapping actor Christina Ricci as the star, the brands have launched S.A.F.E. Squad (Scam and Fraud Elimination) to raise awareness about making safe online payments.

Taking inspiration from police procedurals, the S.A.F.E. Squad works to expose the culprits behind imposter scams. A ten-minute film features a series of vignettes “taken from the first few episodes” of this informational parody TV series. The crew works on cracking various cases, dealing with scammers posing as bank tellers, business owners and the IRS.

Scam-resistant training

“As someone who has been targeted by scammers, I am thrilled for the opportunity to partner with Zelle to help educate people, raise awareness about fraudulent payment schemes and arm consumers with ways to protect themselves before they fall victim to a scam,” Ricci said in a statement.

Early Warning, the network operator of Zelle, has worked to educate consumers on digital safety throughout 2023. It has partnered with organizations including the Better Business Bureau, National Council on Aging, EVERFI, Cybercrime Support Network and HerCampus Media.

“Zelle is proud to have educated millions of consumers in the U.S. to date this year, but we won’t stop there,” said Andrea Gilman, chief marketing officer at Early Warning. “We’re now spearheading a multi-platform, consumer education campaign as part of our ongoing commitment to payment safety.”

In addition to the videos, the campaign features an interactive microsite. The site features opportunities to further your digital safety education through fun facts and quizzes. This highlights Zelle’s increased efforts to curb imposter scams via technology development, in-app security alerts and advocacy around public policy changes.