Whether it’s splitting the bill after a night out on the town or sending money for your niece’s graduation, more Americans are relying on peer-to-peer payment services like Cash App than ever before. It’s a quick and seamless way to make financial transactions trusted by millions of users.
Cash App makes it easy to receive and send money and is renowned for its convenience. But while Cash App transactions are generally safe, users could still be susceptible to Cash App scams.
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Cash App's growing popularity
Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services and money transfer apps like Cash App are becoming more popular because of their convenience and reliability. Today, more than 8 in 10 consumers have used a P2P payment service to make a financial transaction. Cash App is one of the most widely used P2P payment services on the market, along with the likes of Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle.
Cash App saves users time and effort when it comes to making payments. There’s no need to run to the ATM to withdraw cash, because you can directly transfer money with just a few clicks on a mobile device.
Some ways that people use Cash App include:
- Splitting the bill at a restaurant
- Paying for odd jobs and errands
- Sending rent money
- Giving a birthday or graduation gift
It wasn’t long ago that the only way individuals could pay each other was by writing a check or withdrawing a stack of bills. That’s no longer the case, thanks to the rise of technology like Cash App payment services. Cash App is growing in popularity because it makes money easy to manage and eliminates the need for traditional banking when making payments between peers.
How does Cash App work?
Cash App users start by creating a free account that lets them receive and send money from users in the same country. Once the application has been successfully downloaded, users choose a unique username called a “$cashtag.” The $cashtag helps Cash App users find one another in order to make financial transactions.
Once the $cashtag is set up, Cash App customers can add funds to their account by linking it to an existing checking account or debit card. This allows funds to be transferred directly to the user’s bank account and also allows funds from the user’s bank account to be transferred to Cash App.
The app’s two main functions are paying others and getting paid. Users can enter an amount of money by clicking the “$” icon at the bottom of the app and selecting “Request” or “Pay” along with the intended $cashtag.Users can also use an email address or phone number to find one another.
Users can also request a Cash Card, which is a free Visa-verified debit card connected to a particular Cash App account. The Cash Card can be used like a conventional debit card to withdraw cash at ATMs or for everyday purchases.
Cash App offers a number of security features to protect customer’s accounts, including PIN verification, biometric authentication, sign-in codes, and account usage alerts. But with so many people now using P2P payment services, cyber criminals have plenty of opportunities to make a profit through scams.
Is Cash App safe?
Although users are vulnerable to scams, Cash App offers safety features in an effort to protect its users.
Cash App's safety features
Cash App offers a few particular safety features to protect its users.
- Encryption: Encryption is used to secure user data while fraud monitoring algorithms detect suspicious activity
- Security Locks: Cash App PIN verification, sign-in codes, and Face ID help to secure Cash App payments
- Notifications: Users are alerted of suspicious activity via text or email
- Remote Disabling: Card spending can be disabled immediately when the card gets lost or goes missing
- Fraud Protection: Cash App provides buyer protection and cash support to defend against unauthorized charges
12 common Cash App scams
1. Posing as Cash App support
Cash App scammers often take advantage of users by posing as Cash App support or other Cash App employees. This gives the illusion of legitimacy as scammers reach out via direct message or phone.
Cash App advises,“Cash App Support will never ask you to provide your sign-in code or PIN, and will never require you to send a payment, make a purchase, download any application for ‘remote access,’ or complete a ‘test’ transaction of any kind.”
The odds are, if someone is contacting you about your account balance or usage, it’s likely a scammer. If you receive any communication from what appears to be Cash App support and wish to contact Cash App, Cash App recommends going directly into the app to contact support.
2. Offering expensive goods
One of the more popular scams on Cash App is scammers offering expensive — but fictitious — goods or services in return for payment. Cash App isn’t a marketplace and doesn’t facilitate the purchase or trade of personal items. Cash App reminds customers, “Cash App to Cash App payments are instant and usually can’t be canceled. So remember — if something sounds too good to be true, it’s likely a scam.”
If some unknown person is suddenly offering concert tickets, expensive electronics, or other valuables in return for a Cash App payment, it’s possible that they’ll take your money and disappear without ever providing the goods you paid for.
3. Random deposits
Waking up to an unexpected deposit can be super exciting. Who doesn’t like free money? Unfortunately, receiving a random deposit in your Cash App account is often a sign of an impending scam.
A random deposit is often used to lull users into a sense of trust with scammers. After all, what kind of scammer deposits $1,000 into your account? However, Cash App explains,Scammers might send you a payment ‘by accident’ and ask for you to send the payment amount back to them. The amount you send them back is from your account funds. These scammers will dispute the payment with their bank or credit card after you’ve sent the funds back. This means they will be reimbursed by both you and their bank.”.
4. Claim your prize
Users may be contacted with claims of fabulous cash prizes. But in order to receive the prize, they must first send money. Cash App doesn’t require any Cash App user to pay for any contests or promotions, so requests to send funds in order to claim a prize are likely fraudulent.
5. SSN request
Anyone asking for a user’s Social Security number is almost certainly a scammer. In general, it is best to only share your Social Security number with trusted sources (for example, your employer, a financial institution, or a government institution),and you should avoid sharing important identity information from requesters on any app, including Cash App.
6. Government relief payments
Some scammers may offer the promise of cash in the form of a government grant or relief program. This type of Cash App scam has been running rampant since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and can look quite legitimate depending on the skill of the scammer. But any request for financial information is a telltale sign of a scam.
7. Cash flippers
Much in the same way that property flippers buy and renovate homes for profit, scammers may claim to be able to “flip” the funds of users in order to make more money. Cash flipping scammers will usually ask for a small sum, something to the tune of $5 or $10, which they will claim they can flip into multiple times the amount.
Also known as a “money circle” a cash flipping scam is designed to take money from users without ever giving them a return on investment. As a rule, if anyone makes a financial promise and asks you to send them money first, it’s a scam.
8. Fake refunds
If you’re selling something on an online marketplace, a scammer may reach out claiming that they’re interested in the item and will make a payment via Cash App — except you won’t receive the money, and they’ll claim they’ve sent payment multiple times. They’ll demand a refund of your own money for an item they never actually paid for in the first place.
9. Bad romance
If somebody reaches out to you via Cash App with romantic promises of expensive dates and lavish gifts, it’s probably a scam. In addition, if you meet someone on a dating app or social media site and they ask you to send them money via Cash App, exercise extreme caution. If someone you haven’t met in person is claiming romantic intentions and requesting money via Cash App or other means, you should treat them with suspicion.
#CashAppFridays is a real cash giveaway promotion run by Cash App, but that hasn’t stopped scammers from taking advantage of it. Fake Cash App accounts will use the hashtag and contact users claiming that they’ve won the giveaway — but in order to claim their prize, they’ll need to provide payment or login information. Real winners of #CashAppFridays won’t ever be asked for credentials or payment.
11. Phishing emails
A classic scam, phishing scammers will send a legitimate-looking email to trick users into verifying their login credentials or to click a malicious link that steals their information. Real emails from the Cash App team will never ask users to provide login info or use threatening language in their messages.
Cash App explains that verified emails from Cash App will come from @cash.app, @square.com and @squareup.com.address,and that if you do receive what appears to be a phishing email, you should contact support through the app.
12. Fake security alerts
Similar to phishing emails, some scammers may send a fraudulent email claiming that your Cash App account was compromised and your personal information has been leaked. Scammers often include links to fake websites in emails that prompt you to change your login credentials, but this trick can actually steal your existing login information.
Learn more and stay safe with Lookout
Keeping your personal data safe can be a challenge on your mobile device, especially when it comes to personal finances and banking account information. If you want to protect yourself from scams on P2P payment apps like Cash App as well as other mobile threats, Lookout offers comprehensive security and privacy on both Android and iOS mobile devices.
With Lookout, you can protect yourself against scams and keep your personal data safe with a single solution that automatically scans every site you visit and link you click, blocking scams and risks before they can cause harm. And it all happens quietly in the background.
You’ll also get comprehensive identity theft protection. An identity theft expert is only a click away if you ever need help, and your identity is backed with $1 million in identity theft coverage.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use mobile security solution that identifies and protects against all areas of risk, trust Lookout.
Do Cash App scams exist?
Yes, bad actors deploy different types of Cash App-related scams that affect users every day. These may include phishing scams, fake security alerts, cash flipping scams, and more.
Can someone steal your money with your Cash App name?
Scammers will need more than just your $cashtag to access your account. Additional credentials are needed to gain access to your funds, which is why scammers go to great lengths to obtain login information.
What happens if a random person sends you money on Cash App?
If a random person sends you money on Cash App, contact Cash App support immediately. An unexpected deposit is often a sign of a scam.
Why would someone want a screenshot of my Cash App?
Screenshots are used by Cash App scammers to trick users into thinking that they’ve sent you money or a fake Cash App receipt.
Will Cash App refund money if I’m scammed?
Cash App payments are instant and usually can’t be canceled. But Cash App takes precautions to monitor your account for suspicious activity and can cancel any fraudulent payments to prevent you from being charged.
Should you link Cash App to your bank account?
Cash App doesn’t require users to link their bank account, however, a linked bank account is necessary to verify your Cash App account and remove limits on the amount of money you can send and receive each week.