Q: A new online payment method is CashApp. Is this App safe to use for payment?
A: With many businesses and individuals avoiding cash during the pandemic, digital wallets are becoming an increasingly common way to pay. Especially popular – with 30 million downloads in 2020 so for – is CashApp. However, con artists are finding clever ways to abuse users' unfamiliarity with the newly popular app, according to numerous BBB.org/ScamTracker reports.
How the scam works
Scammers are now requesting payment through CashApp, instead of other methods like prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Victims report that they send scammers money through the app and are immediately blocked.
For example, one target recently told BBB.org/ScamTracker that, after falling for a tech support scam, they were targeted by the con artist to purchase bogus software through CashApp. Another victim tried to buy concert tickets from a seller who claimed to only accept CashApp payments. "I did not know what that was at the time," wrote the victim. "I was told I could cancel the transaction at any time. I sent $350 for the tickets and was instantly blocked."
Another common con with CashApp involves fake customer support numbers. People looking for help with their CashApp account often search online for a support phone number. They think they are calling a CashApp representative, but they are really dialing a scammer who posted the phony number online.
Under the guise of helping fix an issue with the app, the con artist will trick callers into sharing their log in information. Then, the con artist can log in and drain the victim's CashApp account. In other cases, the scammers trick victims into sending them money or installing malware on their smartphone.
One victim told BBB.org/ScamTracker she dialed a CashApp support phone number she found online, hoping to get help processing a refund. The CashApp "representative" claimed that the caller needed to "set up a dummy account" in CashApp and send them the balance of the other account. "I asked her for the reason for this. The response given was this is how their system works and for me not to worry because the money was not leaving my account; it was only appearing to do so," the victim wrote. "Despite my own doubts, I proceeded as requested." The victim ended up losing more than $300 to this "support rep."
How to protect yourself when paying with CashApp:
* No one representing CashApp will ever ask for your sign-in code over the phone or on social media. CashApp support will also never ask for payment or provide sensitive information, such as your full bank account information.
* Be skeptical of any business that requires CashApp payments. If a company claims to only accept CashApp and/or prepaid debit card payments, be very wary. This is a red flag of a scam.
* Double check information before sending money. Verify the recipient's name, CashApp handle, and information before sending them money.
* Link your money transfer app to a credit card. As with many other purchases, using a credit card will help protect you if you don't get the goods or services you paid for. Linking to a debit card or directly to your bank account does not give you that added protection.
For more information
For more information about CashApp scams and how to protect your account; read more information about digital wallets , and phony customer support phone numbers on BBB.org.
If you've been a victim of a scam that used CashApp, be sure to report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others to spot a scam before it's too late.
Jim Winsett is president of the Better Business Bureau in Chattanooga.