Cash App Scams: Top Scams and How To Avoid Them

Cash App scams are surging. Here's how you can protect yourself.

Cash App has grown in popularity — and so have Cash App scams. The peer-to-peer mobile payment service lets users transfer money to one another using a mobile phone app. But the app’s soaring popularity comes from weekly cash giveaway campaigns like #CashAppFriday. Users become eligible for cash giveaways if they engage with the app on social media platforms by retweeting or replying to posts with their $cashtag — the user’s unique ID for sending and receiving money.

Scammers are targeting Cash App users and their $cashtags on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. The Federal Trade Commission’s latest press release reports that wire transfer fraud is the top fraud of the year, with $423 million in losses last year alone. But there’s also a surge in fraud payments using gift cards, which are related to Cash App scams.

Here’s what you need to know about Cash App scams to safeguard your hard-earned money.

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Common Cash App Scams and How They Work

Cash App is a great money transfer tool but comes with dangers users should watch out for. The first step to protecting yourself and your money is knowing the most common schemes fraudsters use to rip you off. Here are the top Cash App scams:

Cash App Flipping

Scammers monitor the comment threads during Cash App giveaways looking for commenters to target. They direct message users to convince them they’re successful Cash App “flippers” who can turn a small sum of cash into larger amounts of money. Once they persuade a user to give them an amount of money to flip, they disappear with the funds.

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Fraudulent #CashAppFriday or #SuperCashAppFriday Giveaways

Clever fraudsters use comments on legitimate giveaways to post fraudulent giveaways with similar themes. By creating a similar giveaway campaign and asking Cash App users to retweet it, the fake campaign gets shared with others. Scammers also ask users to reply with and/or send them a direct message with their $cashtags to “award” them.

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Fake Referral Bonuses

Scammers promise a small referral payment in exchange for a user signing up for services from companies such as Dosh Cash and Waldo. The tricksters earn the company’s $5 per-person incentive but don’t pay the referral bonus they promised after the user signs up.

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Cash App Impersonation and Phishing Scams

Cash App warns about impersonators conducting phishing scams. Pretending to be a Cash App representative, the fraudster reaches out to a user by email, social media, phone or text to collect personal or financial information. Some fraudsters even direct victims to fake websites the fraudsters have created as part of their phishing scams. Once there, any information the victim enters is illegally captured by the impersonator.

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Gift Card Scams

Cash App scammers try to con unsuspecting individuals out of gift cards before the scammers “pay” out the individuals’ Cash App giveaway money. They reach out to victims with a request that the victims purchase prepaid gift cards from local retailers or popular websites on the scammer’s behalf, to earn the scammer’s trust. The victims share the card information with the scammer to prove they’ve made the purchase, and the scammer uses the card information to essentially steal the card without ever paying out the Cash App giveaway money. Scams like this are likely responsible for the jump in gift card fraud, which resulted in a 95% increase in fraudulently transferred funds from 2017 to 2018, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

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How To Avoid Money Transfer Scams

To avoid falling for transfer app fraud and other types of online money-transfer scams, there are certain things to remember:

  • Never disclose your personally identifiable information online, through social media or over the phone. Scammers lurk on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
  • Avoid direct messaging with strangers promising to reward you with a cash prize.
  • In the event that you get an email or text message announcing you’ve won a prize or reward but need to send money first, don’t click on any links.
  • Never agree to send someone money or make a purchase in return for a payment or reward.

Finally, keep your sign-in code private. “No one representing Cash App will ever ask for your sign-in code over the phone, on social media, or through any other medium. If you believe that you have fallen victim to a phishing scam, please change your Cash App PIN immediately and report the incident,” Cash App warns its users.

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What To Do If You’re the Victim of a Scam

In the event you’ve been scammed, report what happened to the Cash App team and to the FTC, which can build a case against scammers. Also, contact your financial institutions if you feel your accounts or other financial information like your bank account number have been compromised. Replace credit or debit cards and monitor your accounts for unusual activity.

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Cash App Scams: If It’s Too Good To Be True, Beware

Fraudsters are always working to find ways to take your money. It’s up to you to stay vigilant and informed of how they con people out of their cash. This latest wave of Cash App scams piggybacks on the popular and fast-paced giveaways the company holds every week.

Cash App’s giveaways might be legitimate, but beware of the shady individuals who target users through direct messages or phone calls looking for free funds. Money rarely comes without strings attached — when someone contacts you with promises of fast cash out of nowhere, it’s likely a scam.

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About the Author

Cynthia Bowman

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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