Twitter and Instagram have become inundated with scams targeting users of Cash App, the popular person-to-person payment service, according to new research released Thursday.
Many of the scams target users participating in #CashAppFridays, a legitimate cash giveaway run by Square, Cash App’s creator, according to Tenable researcher Satnam Narang, who began monitoring the events for scammers earlier this year.
A new report from Narang highlights a number of different scams targeting Cash App users, including a common hoax known as “cash-flipping,” whereby scammers convince victims to send them anywhere from $US10 ($15) to $US1,000 ($1,459), promising to return a larger amount in exchange for a cut using some non-existent “software.”
“Money flipping isn’t new to social media; it’s been pervasive on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for years,” Narang writes. “What makes this particular form of money flipping so nefarious and successful is that it capitalises on a legitimate giveaway proposition from a reputed company—Square and its Cash App product—and then victimizes people who are hoping to be selected in this legitimate giveaway.”
In some cases, Narang says, scammers may actually deliver on a promise to “flip” small amounts of cash, thereby convincing the victim to put up a larger amount. “The reality is that the Cash App scammer will receive the payment and never respond back to the user after they’ve received the initial payment, leaving the user out in the cold,” he says.
Phishing is just as common. Scammers will often ride the #CashAppFridays and try to direct giveaway participants to fake websites that closely resemble the Cash App page. These pages, however, may be used to intercept a victim’s credentials and grant the scammer access to their accounts. After the account is compromised, the phishing sites will sometimes act to convince the user that the payment has simply failed in order to allay their suspicions.
Other scammers rely on impersonation, typically masquerading as an official Cash App account or service representative.
Avoiding scams isn’t difficult. Just remember, “Neither Cash App nor any artist or celebrity offering to give away money will ever ask you to send money as a form of verification,” Tenable says. “Flipping money isn’t real.”
Besides that, remain sceptical of any tweets or posts on other social media offering to give away free money. If sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you receive a link to a login page from someone claiming you’ve won a Cash App giveaway, “it is almost certainly a phishing site,” said Tenable said.
In a statement, Square said it is aware of the online scams and that it’s working with social media companies to combat them. “As a reminder, the Cash App team will never ask customers to send them money, nor will they solicit a customer’s PIN or sign-in code outside of the app,” the company said.
Square noted that Cash App only has two Twitter accounts: @cashapp and @cashsupport, both of which are verified. “If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, you should contact Cash App support through the app or website immediately,” it said.