Report: Certain terrorism-related words can block online payments

Apr 14, 2016, 6:25 AM | Updated: 2:57 pm
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)...
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

PHOENIX — Some online payments might be blocked for those who put words related to terrorism or terrorist activities in the memo, according to a new report from Bankrate.com.

Money transfer sites and apps like Venmo may halt payments if the memo contains red flag words or even mention countries like Iran or Syria.

Those companies and financial institutions are required by the government to block and report illegal payments to terrorists.

Since computers are looking for those key words, even a harmless payment described by the words “Cuban food” could be placed under review, said Dr. Jon Haass, professor at Embry Riddle’s College of Security and Intelligence.

“(The computers) don’t have any judgment,” he said. “(Computers) can’t look at (the payment) and say, ‘Oh, look, it’s a birthday party for Shaina, she’s 9-years-old and she loves the Iranian flag.’”

If a financial institution fails to block a payment that is deemed illegal, it could be fined $250,000.

Haass said the online money transfer sites and banks would rather take all precautions necessary, even if the payment is harmless.

But if your payment is flagged, Haass said it is best to call up the representative for the website or your bank.

“The last thing you’d want is to have (the payment) flagged and then later it goes through,” he said. “And then you wind up going ahead and paying it again, taking the harmful reference to Iran out of the payment and now the person is getting paid twice.”

He said the solution to avoid this problem is simple: avoid any terrorism-related words or countries in online payment memos. Haass also said it’s a good idea to be less verbose when describing your transaction.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Putting World)...
KTAR.com

Putting World, with 18-hole indoor course, opens in Scottsdale

Putting World, a new putting venue featuring an 18-hole indoor course, opened in Scottsdale.
1 day ago
(ADOT Photo)...
KTAR.com

Here are the top 10 most popular specialty license plates in Arizona in 2022

The Arizona Department of Transportation on Wednesday released its 10 most popular custom plates designs of 2022. There was a repeat winner.
1 day ago
The WM Phoenix Open is a major economic driver. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
Kevin Stone

2022 WM Phoenix Open drove economic impact of over $450M, study finds

The WM Phoenix Open pumped nearly half a billion dollars into the local economy last year, according to an economic impact study.
1 day ago
(Getty Images Photos)...
Kevin Stone

Bryan Adams running to Phoenix with help from Joan Jett

Bryan Adams’ So Happy It Hurts Tour comes to Footprint Center in Phoenix this summer with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
1 day ago
Armando Real (Photo via Arizona Department of Public Safety)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for Phoenix man last seen near 24th Street and Buckeye

Authorities issued a Silver Alert on Thursday for a missing Phoenix man who was last seen a day earlier near 24th Street and Buckeye Road.
1 day ago
(City of Buckeye Photo)...
KTAR.com

Buckeye to move forward with $80 million water rights agreement

A West Valley city has secured a source of water for a minimum of 100 years after approving an $80 million deal this week.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Report: Certain terrorism-related words can block online payments