7 Common Cash App Scams and How to Avoid Them
Fraudsters are stealing people's money via Cash App scams, raising questions about how secure this contactless payment app really is
Money-transfer apps like Cash App have grown in popularity, allowing users to instantly send and receive money. But scams on these apps are rising too. While fraudsters are sneaky and often convincing, Cash App scams also tend to share common traits that make them easier to spot.
“Consumers flocked to Cash App because it was easy to use and convenient, but unfortunately, the scammers quickly followed suit,” says Alex Hamerstone, advisory solutions director at cybersecurity company TrustedSec. “It is vital for consumers to educate themselves on the tricks and techniques scammers are using and be on the lookout for potential red flags.”
Keep reading to learn the risks of using Cash App and how to avoid the common Cash App scams that could leave your information, online security and money vulnerable to criminals. To protect your financial and personal information from scammers, learn how to spot common online scams on other payment apps, like Venmo, Zelle and PayPal, too.
Cash App’s safety features
In most cases, Cash App is a safe and convenient way to transfer money to friends, family members and businesses. “Cash App is not inherently more or less safe than other legitimate peer-to-peer payment apps, such as Venmo and Zelle,” says Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center.
Cash App even offers several security features that other payment apps do not, including an artificial intelligence–driven function that flags potential scams, text messages alerting customers of an unusual login attempt and a prompt requiring users to confirm a money transfer to someone who is not on their contact list. Rest assured that there is nothing wrong with using a Cash App to transfer cash in a pinch, especially for the times when you shouldn’t use your credit card for payment.
Risks of using Cash App
The tool offers safety precautions to protect its customers, but is Cash App safe? “How users engage with the technology can make all the difference,” Velasquez says. Scammers often take advantage of people who use a Cash App like a bank, storing money on the app, or are willing to transfer money to strangers.
What’s more, transfers through Cash App are not protected in the case of fraud or theft, unlike payments made using a traditional credit or debit card. Since Cash App treats all money like cash, it’s almost impossible to get the money back once it is transferred.
In other words, if you’re going to use a Cash App, learn how to spot these prevalent Cash App scams before you lose money. In fact, no matter what contactless payment app you use—Apple Pay and Google Pay are also vulnerable to scams—be sure you know how to spot scams before you send a payment.
The most common Cash App scams
No matter how often you use Cash App, do yourself a favor and learn about the scams you may come across on the app. It could save you a good chunk of change in the end.
1. Impersonating customer support
Cash App does not offer live customer support and encourages users to report any issues, including fraud and scams, through the app instead. But many Cash App users have been fooled by scammers who impersonate Cash App customer service employees through phone scams.
These thieves create phony websites with fake Cash App support phone numbers, which victims believe are real when they appear in a Google search. When victims call the phone number, the fraudster pretends to be a Cash App representative and asks them for their login information. These bad actors will later use the login details to hijack the account and make purchases.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Cash App customers across the country have been conned out of thousands of dollars by scammers who claimed to be Cash App representatives.
How to avoid it: When you call customer support, beware of anyone who asks for personal information, such as your Cash App PIN or sign-in code. “Cash Support will never ask you to provide your sign-in code, PIN or other sensitive information, like your bank account information,” according to Cash App’s website. “Cash Support will also never require you to send a payment, make a purchase, download any application for ‘remote access’ or complete a ‘test’ transaction of any kind.”
Adam Gordon, an educator at IT training company ITProTV, recommends going straight to Cash App’s website to find the customer support phone number or reporting the issue through the app instead. That way, you can avoid accidentally stumbling upon a fake Cash App customer service number.
2. Selling expensive items through Cash App
Whether you’re hoping to score a purebred pup, a lease on a new apartment or a concert ticket for a sold-out show, you should never agree to pay for it via Cash App. Scammers know that Cash App doesn’t provide buyer protection, so they are more likely to ask their victims to use the app to pay for fake items sold on online shopping platforms like Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp. Once the unsuspecting users pay the fees, the fraudsters will disappear without handing over the items.
How to avoid it: Cash App recommends against sending a payment to someone you don’t know or paying without verifying the item’s legitimacy. If you think you’ve been scammed on Cash App, you can dispute the charge through the app by following the steps below.
Select the transaction.
Tap the three dots.
Go to “Need Help & Cash App Support.”
Click “Dispute This Transaction.”
The Cash App team will investigate your claim, but there is no guarantee you will get your money back, Gordon says. Your money will be safest if you limit your transactions to your close friends and family members or carry a few bucks in your wallet for the times when it’s better to pay in cash.
3. Sending random payments
We know what you’re thinking: “A random person sent me money on a Cash App—score!” But while receiving an unexpected payment might feel like a pleasant surprise at first, it’s likely “the bait for a scam,” Hamerstone says.
Here’s how it works: Fraudsters will create a fake profile, link it to a stolen credit card or bank account number and “accidentally” send a fake Cash App payment to the victim. From there, they will contact the recipient and ask them to send it back, switch the stolen card to their own and collect the refund.
Here’s where things get bad for you: As the Better Business Bureau notes, the money will eventually disappear from your account because it came from a now invalid credit card. That means that if you receive and then return $1,000, you could be out $1,000 in a few days, when the stolen card is canceled and the stolen funds disappear from your account.
How to avoid it: If you receive an unexpected or random payment, resist the urge to contact the sender yourself. “While you can ask the sender to cancel the payment, this can sometimes lead you down a rabbit hole of back-and-forth interactions,” Hamerstone says. Instead, he recommends blocking the user, then reporting the issue to Cash App’s customer service department and asking them to cancel the payment.
4. Cash flipping
There is one rule of thumb when it comes to Cash App scams: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is, according to Gordon. For example, in a scam popular on social media, fraudsters promise to increase (or “flip”) your money when you send them money via Cash App first. If you send them $10 to $1,000, they claim, they will send you back double or triple the original sum. (Spoiler: They won’t.)
In another common Cash App scam, bad actors will ask you to send a certain amount of money in return for a higher rate, which you’ll supposedly receive from other participants. Called a money circle, cash wheel or pyramid scheme, these scams are designed so that you never receive any money back.
How to avoid it: To avoid getting tricked by one of these scams, “your first line of defense is to not send money to people you do not know,” Gordon says. Keep your transactions only between people you know and trust—no matter how good a deal it seems. While you’re at it, learn how to spot fake donation scams and gift card scams too.
5. Fake #CashAppFriday offers
Every Friday, Cash App holds an official sweepstakes in which customers can win cash prizes. But there are also dozens of fake Cash App Friday events on Instagram, Facebook and other social networks, and they use the official #CashAppFriday promotional hashtag. Scammers will create fraudulent raffles, then message users, asking them to transfer a few dollars via Cash App or share their login credentials for a chance to win. Users may send the money or info, but they never win anything in return.
How to avoid it: If you want to participate in the official Cash App sweepstakes, Gordon advises double-checking that the link to enter comes from the verified Cash App Twitter account, which has a blue check mark beside the username.
6. Offering investment opportunities
With more and more people getting interested in cryptocurrency, scammers have taken note. There’s a proliferation of crypto scams to watch out for. These bad guys fool victims by approaching them with an unbelievable opportunity to invest in crypto. Once victims send funds to purchase the cryptocurrency through Cash App, the scammer will disappear with the money.
In other scenarios, the scammer sends the victim back the money, plus some extra cash that they “earned” from the investment to entice them to send more. “This can go on and on until the scammer cleans you out or you eventually realize the scam,” Hamerstone says. “But either way, the money is gone, and you are left with little recourse to get it back.”
How to avoid it: Be skeptical of strangers on Cash App who approach you with an investment opportunity. “As with many scams, these often begin with a too-good-to-be-true opportunity, which is a red flag that something is wrong,” Hamerstone says. You should only use a Cash App to exchange money with people you know and trust.
He also recommends blocking users who contact you randomly. “While it may seem random to you, the scammer knows exactly what they are doing,” he says.
7. Hacking accounts
Scammers can’t steal your money just by finding your Cash App name, but they could potentially hijack the account if you don’t follow proper password security. If you reuse a password for multiple accounts, hackers can find it by purchasing password lists on the dark web and running the passwords against a variety of online accounts, Hamerstone says. They could also hack into your email account and reset your password or trick you into sharing your login credentials, two-factor authentication code or password reset links.
How to avoid it: To protect your Cash App account from hackers, create a strong, unique password and enable two-factor authentication. Do the same for your email account, which is likely to have access to sensitive information or accounts. Above all, it’s important to never share your login credentials, two-factor authentication code or password reset links with anyone—and be skeptical of people who ask for them.