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Protect Yourself from Payment App Scams
Protect Yourself from Payment App Scams9/1/2020

black man with a shocked look on his face looking at his cell phoneMobile payment apps like Cash App and Venmo make transferring money from your checking account to friends and family easy, but they also make it easy for scammers to con victims out of their money. We want to make you aware of the scams to keep your money safe.

Be Aware That You May Lose Your Money for Good

If you have your checking account or debit card linked to a payment app, we want to emphasize that when you send money to someone, whether it was intended, an honest mistake, or fraud, you will not be able to recoup your money.

Why? When you send someone money with an app from checking or a debit card, the transaction is authorized immediately. Once this happens, whether the transaction was fraud or simply a mistake, you cannot dispute the transaction.

If your payment was funded by a credit card, you may be able to get your card issuer to refund it. By law, cardholders who have made payments in error are liable for no more than $50.

Venmo Scam

Scammers are connecting stolen credit cards to Venmo and using them to transfer money to unsuspecting users who get a message in the app that reads something like: “Oops! Can you send that back?” If you send the money back to the scammer, they will delete the stolen credit card from their account and add their own card in its place. Then, the money you are sending will go on to their personal card. Eventually, the stolen funds will be removed from your account, and you will be out that money.

Scammers are also sending phishing texts or emails appearing to come from Venmo asking for personal information like bank account or credit card information and social security numbers. If you’re not sure if the text or email is legitimate, contact Venmo directly, not though any links provided in the text or email.

Protect Yourself
  • Use Venmo (and other payment apps) with friends and family only: Protect yourself by only using money transfer apps for their intended purpose -- sending money to people you personally know. Never send money to someone you don’t know.
  • If someone sends you money by mistake, ask them to cancel the transaction: The sender can request that the vendor cancel the transaction. If the person refuses, it’s probably a scam.Don’t use payment apps for business purposes. Most apps’ terms of service prohibit commercial use, such as using the service to get paid for selling goods or services. Look instead for a payment app specifically meant for business users, such as Square Cash for Business, or PayPal.
  • Enable additional security settings: Check your account settings to see if you can turn on additional security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, requiring a PIN, or using fingerprint recognition.Keep your app up to date. Hackers exploit security vulnerabilities sometimes faster than the security pros can plug them. If you have old software, you’re missing the latest protections. Make sure you have auto-updates turned on for your device.
Cash App Scam

In this trending scam, a Cash App user is invited to participate in a legitimate “Cash App Fridays” contest on Twitter or Instagram. With “Cash App Fridays”, the company gives money to randomly chosen Twitter or Instagram followers who comment on and/or share the “Cash App Friday” posts.

After entering the contest, the victim receives a message informing them that they’ve won the giveaway — but they need to pay a small fee to verify their account and, later, receive their cash prize. Thrilled to be the winner and suspecting nothing unusual, the victim will gladly pay the fee and wait for their big payday. Unfortunately, though, the money never lands in their account, and they won’t see the funds they used to pay the “fee” ever again.

Sometimes, the victim has not entered any contests but receives a message appearing to be sent directly from the payment app informing them they’ve been randomly chosen to win a cash prize — with a small processing fee attached.

Other times, scammers take the ruse one step further. After asking the victim to send the fee via a mobile payment app, the scammer hacks the victim’s linked account or credit card and uses it to make their own purchases.

Security Best Practices with Cash App
  • Every time you sign in to your Cash App account, you’re sent a one-time-use login code. If you received an unsolicited sign in code via email, secure the email account associated with your Cash App account by updating your password and enabling two-factor authentication.
  • If you sign in to Cash App on a device other than your personal device, make sure to sign out.
  • Enable the Security Lock setting so that every Cash App payment requires your passcode.
  • Enable notification via text message or email so that you are notified after every Cash payment. You may adjust these settings in the profile section of your Cash App.
Protect yourself
  • Cash App will never ask customers to send money as a “processing fee” or for “verification.”
  • Cash App will not ask users to share their PIN or sign-in code outside the app.
  • Cash App has official Twitter and Instagram accounts with the handle @cashapp, which has blue, verified check marks. If you receive a tweet or message from another account appearing to be from the app, it is likely bogus.
  • If a post or tweet looks suspicious, don’t take any chances. Ignore it and move on.

If you believe you have fallen victim to a mobile payment app scam, contact the app’s support through the app or website. You can also report the scam to the FTC and let your friends know about the circulating scam so they don’t fall victim to it themselves. Stay alert and practice caution to keep your money safe.

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