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A Full Guide on Cash App Scams

Posted on by Dawna M. Roberts in SecurityFebruary 14, 2023
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If you can say, "I got scammed on cash app, what do I do?" you are in good company. The Federal Trade Commission received 2.8 million fraud reports recently and said consumers lost more than $5.5 billion to online scams. Fraud takes many forms, including fake customer service, catfishing, refund scams, and more. Ripoffs once limited to phone calls are now increasing to involve cash exchange apps like cash app. The advantage that fraudsters have with cash apps is immediacy: people trust their phones for all sorts of information and don't often stop to consider if a great deal might be fake.

What is Cash App

There are many ways to send and receive money outside traditional banks, including Venmo, Paypal, Zelle, and CashApp. These apps are often downloaded to a smartphone and linked directly to the user's bank account. This allows quick and easy funds transfers to individuals for things like concert tickets, splitting restaurant tabs, and online purchases. However, this easy access to funds draws fraudsters and scammers who want to exploit individuals' quick responses, allowing cash app scams to proliferate.

Common Cash App Scams

Many scammers employ typical schemes adapted to today's technology, including:

  • Catfishing attempts to lure unsuspecting victims into transferring funds or disclosing passwords and PINs. These scammers pose as a person of authority, such as a bank representative or customer service manager of a cash app company. 
  • Free money scams reel in a lot of victims. These involve sending your personal information and sometimes a small amount of money as an entry fee. You're unlikely to win anything, and the cash app scam gets away with some of your personal information and a pocketful of money sent by gullible victims.
  • Lookalike scams that copy #CashAppFriday sweepstakes deceive people by mimicking genuine offers. Look closely at website addresses and previous sweepstakes because fakes often are misspelled by one letter. Rather than following links provided in unsolicited text messages, go to the cash app's actual website and look for evidence of sweepstakes on it. The real Cash App advertises its #CashAppFriday on its Twitter account, not by text or SMS messages to users.
  • Fake cash app payments may be made to your account. It works like this: a scammer sends you a few hundred dollars using a stolen credit card, apologizes, saying he had the wrong person and asks for a refund via a cash app. That's when the stolen card is canceled and the payment to you is clawed back. When you refund the money to the individual using your cash app, he walks away with the money. You've been scammed for the amount he "accidentally" sent with the stolen card.
  • Money-flipping scams are also known as pyramid schemes or Ponzi schemes. These promise to double or triple any amount you "invest" in the scheme. Typically people who invest $100 are promised a $150-$300 payout in a brief period. Most pyramid schemes rely on recruiting dozens of willing victims daily, which fund the payouts and generate referrals by word of mouth. These money-flipping schemes either run out of willing victims and become unable to expand enough to continue payments to "winners," or they simply take all of the money "invested" and never pay out the promised amounts.

cash app scam

Fake Customer Support

Contacting cash app customer service is your first step when you have a problem with a cash app. However, scammers may pretend to be customer support representatives. If you give them your user information, password, or PIN to "diagnose" or correct your issue, they can drain your account. Beware of any links to customer support or cash app refunds sent in text, SMS, or email messages. If you need to contact customer support, you should go to the company's website yourself and find the link or phone number there. Any unsolicited contact from customer support, such as messages that say there are problems with your account, should be regarded with great caution.

Hacking Accounts

Only use cash apps that require two-factor authentication to prevent hacking. Hackers who break into email addresses may be able to access your account, even changing details, so they can control all payments. Others who use different money transfer apps must be on guard regarding reusing passwords. Many hacked passwords and email addresses are available for sale online, allowing hackers to gain access to your accounts.

Romance Scams

About $1.5 billion was lost in romance scams in the past five years, reports the Federal Trade Commission. In these scenarios, people posing as interested potential partners weave a believable tale of desire laced with bad luck. They claim they can't meet the victim for a date because they're stuck somewhere, have a sick child, or need financial help for transportation. Often they play out the scheme using personal details of their victims available on social media. But no amount of funds are ever enough to bring the two together, and before long, the victim realizes they've been targeted.

Crypto Scams

Everyone wants to stumble upon a money-multiplying deal, and cryptocurrencies have provided a few people with windfalls. In cash app scams, people are offered opportunities to invest in crypto deals (often via smishing or phishing schemes). Unfortunately, when the victim transfers funds for conversion into crypto, the money disappears, as does the person who offered the deal. 

How to Avoid and Protect Yourself from Cash App Scams

There are several universal guidelines for protecting your accounts, like CashApp. These include:

  • Use a complex, unique password for each account and turn on two-factor authentication.
  • Set permissions for access within the account, including using the Security Lock setting that requires a passcode for every transaction.
  • If you are sent a passcode that you did not request, do not use it; instead, change your password on the email account that received it.
  • Verify the correct name of anyone you're sending cash to before completing the transaction.

Conclusion

Billions of dollars lost on cash app scams are a strong indication that those who practice fraud are successfully targeting app users. Awareness of how scams are approached and protecting one's personal information is key to avoiding victimization.

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