The pandemic is (maybe?) behind us, but that can’t be said for the infamous cash app scams — which flourished while many of us were stuck in our homes. These sorts of scams build on top of the cashless economy we enjoy these days, offering an easy way to move money from one place to the other. There is a catch, however… And that’s what we’re going to explore in this article, so stay tuned…
What is a cash app scam?
A cash app scam presumes the promotion of a money-related app to the users, who in turn are expected to share their financial details with the app and, at the end, get scammed. And while many of these apps promise cutting-edge encryption and security, in reality, some may not be that secure — and in worse cases, that’s intentional. What’s more, many of these apps don’t provide any kind of fraud protection.
However, in most cases, hackers just piggyback on the popularity of a popular cash app brand to look more legit.
That being said, how can you tell whether some cash app is a scam? There are a few red flags to watch out for:
- Suppose an employee from the app gets in touch regarding issues with your account. If you haven’t noticed anything wrong with the app, just ignore this message as it is likely a phishing scam that is unrelated to the app itself (and the app itself could be perfectly legit).
- You are offered a deal that is too good to be true. And as the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Another red flag, and again it doesn’t have to be related to the app itself, with many hackers using brands such as Venmo and PayPal to trick users into sharing their personal information.
- You are asked for a deposit from a merchant. This, too, is unrelated to the app itself and is instead riding the wave of the app’s popularity. Legitimate retailers seldom ask for a deposit (Tesla is an exemption).
Now that you know how to detect a cash app scam let us explore…
Most popular cash app scams
The most common cash app scams include:
Cryptocurrency is still in the FOMO (fear of missing out) stage, and the number of too-good-to-be-true deals doesn’t seem to go down. Quite the contrary, we would say that we’re seeing new scams popping up on a weekly basis. In some cases, users are asked to participate in “one in a lifetime” deals and spend their hard-earned cash for a promise of a quick buck. And while some folks have made fortunes in crypto, there are also more those that ended up empty-handed.
Fake COVID schemes
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the lives of all of us and has, unfortunately, also helped kickstart a wave of new scams. With more than ever people glued to their screens, hackers had more targets to choose from. Add some “experimental new cure” to the mix, and you get a powerful, albeit dangerous, combo promising super-fast returns on every penny invested. Unlike crypto, we haven’t heard of any winners of these schemes.
You don’t need crypto if you just want to flip some cash. The good ol’ dollar will get the job done, and so will other currencies. All you have to do is learn to trade and since “anyone could do it,” why not join the winning team? Sounds too good to be true? Cause that is indeed the case and by “investing” in this kind of scheme you will surely lose your money.
Free cash scams
Every Friday, an app would offer free money to those participating in its sweepstakes. All you have to do is provide that app with your personal information, and since someone always wins – your turn will come as well. Except that it won’t come ever and that in the meantime, you have put your personal information in the wrong hands. A bad idea.
How to stay protected from cash app scams?
We would say that cash app scams are a subgroup of phishing scams, though focused on cash app users — whether it’s Venmo, PayPal, SoFi, or some other popular cash app. So you should use the same defense as with phishing scams – your brain.
Do not click on strange links and do not trust what people are writing. Someone may have won a lottery with an app, and it’s good for them. Earning money takes time and effort. You will just end up losing your money by agreeing to participate in any cash app scheme — which is seldom organized by that cash app company in the first place.
So be careful where you click and where you leave your personal information. There is no good reason to have these details available in a number of places across the Internet. Your information and your privacy are not cheap; quite the contrary, and you shouldn’t be sharing them lightly.
Get the best tools you can to protect yourself online – a good antivirus and a VPN. And go slow with clicking on tempting ads. It’s actually that easy.