LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — With many businesses and individuals avoiding using cash during the pandemic, digital wallets are becoming a common way to pay.
Cash App is now the popular money transfer app — with 30 million downloads in 2020 so far. Con-artists are now finding clever ways to abuse users’ unfamiliarity with the app. That’s according to numerous Better Business Bureau scam tracker reports.
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “It seems like something that scammers have put a lot of effort in knowing that consumers are using Cash App a lot. A lot of transactions are online, a lot of individual-to-individual transactions, and scammers have really tried to take advantage of consumers specifically that are using the cash app.”
Scammers are now requesting payment through Cash App, instead of other methods like prepaid debit cards or wire transfer. Victims report they send scammers money through the app and are immediately blocked.
“You can block somebody on Cash App to where you can’t interact with them anymore after you receive money from them so we’ve had reports on our scam tracker of that, but we’ve also had reports that scammers are putting fake customer service numbers online so when you have a problem with Cash App and you look for a phone number to be able to call to speak to a representative, you come across the scammer’s ad and you’re calling them and they’re stealing your information and your login to your Cash App,” explained Babin.
The problem is scammers can then log in and drain the victim’s Cash App account stealing their money and potentially, their personal information through their phone.
Todd Kossow, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Midwest Region Office in Chicago, added, “Sending a money transfer is like sending cash. Consumers don’t really have any protections in terms of getting the money back if they determined that they’ve been scammed, and it’s hard for law enforcement to track down to basically follow the money to find out who the perpetrator was.”
Kossow says money transfer services are an anonymous payment mechanism, meaning the money is untraceable.
“Somebody whose called you on the phone and offered you some sort of product. Somebody whose offered you something online. You don’t know those people. You don’t know who they are. You don’t know whether they’re scamming you, and if they ask you to use a money transfer as the method of payment, it’s likely that they’re trying to scam you,” said Kossow.
We’re told Cash App is aware of this happening. They’re trying to prevent fraudulent activity from scammers assuming their name and brand.
Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana on how you can protect yourself when paying with Cash App:
- No one representing Cash App will ever ask for your sign-in code over the phone or on social media.
- Be skeptical of any business that just requires Cash App payments.
- Double check information before sending money.
- Link your money transfer app to a credit card. Linking a debit card doesn’t give you added protection.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.