Scammers Target Cash App, Zelle, Venmo, PayPal Users For ‘Fast’ Money – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Payment apps like Cell, Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App are not only quick and convenient ways to send money, they are also quick and convenient for scammers.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of people who lost money to fraud through a payment app doubled in the past year.
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While more and more people have been using payment apps for online banking since the beginning of the pandemic, many are doing so without knowing the risks.
“I definitely thought you had credit card protection,” said Charee Williams of Fort Worth.
The middle school science teacher said her account was depleted to $ 0 after falling for a scam using her Cash App account.
Williams said it started when she tried to contact Cash App to dispute an online purchase fee.
Cash App doesn’t have a direct customer service phone number, but Williams didn’t know that at the time. When she found a helpline number online, she called.
“I thought I was going to speak to Cash App,” she said. “Little did I know it was a scam.”
The number Williams called was a fake 1-800 hotline. As she followed the instructions from the person on the other end of the call, she looked at her phone and saw that her last $ 167 was gone.
“My heart sank because all my money was gone,” she explained. “It was all gone – all the money in my Cash App account and all the money from my bank account that I withdrew to my Cash App account.”
For two weeks, Williams and her teenage daughter had no money to pay bills, rent, or pay for food until she got her next paycheck.
“We barely came back from it,” she said. “We did it, but we barely came back from it. It was hard.”
Consumer advocates say that payment app users often mistakenly believe that payment apps work just like a credit or debit card. So if there are any fraudulent allegations, simply deny them, the bank will investigate, and your money back will be given. But that’s not how payment apps work.
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“Unfortunately, if they deny these transactions and the banks refuse to provide the loan, they are faced with a rude awakening,” said John Breyault of the National Consumers League.
According to Breyault, even cell that is often automatically tied to a consumer’s bank account like the other popular payment apps is vulnerable to fraud.
While consumers may not realize the lack of protection, Breyault said scammers definitely do.
“Scammers are finding that this is a very lucrative way for them to get paid,” he said.
In the fine print, when you sign up, most apps warn you not to send money to someone you don’t know.
Many, like the Cash app, will even prompt you twice when sending a payment to someone outside of your contact list.
In a statement from Cash App, a company spokesperson told the I-Team: “Preventing fraud is critical to Cash App. We continue to invest in and strengthen anti-fraud resources by both increasing staff and introducing new technology. We are constantly improving systems and controls to prevent, detect and report bad activity on the platform. “
The company is also working with platforms like Google and Facebook to remove fraudulent pages with fake 1-800 numbers posing as a cash app.
However, consumer advocates say more protection is needed.
“We think Congress has to step in here,” said Breyault. “These P2P payment apps aren’t protected against fraud by the kind of federal regulations that benefit people with credit and debit cards.”
If Congress required these apps to make fraudulent allegations, someone would have to pay for it. This would likely add to the cost of using these apps.
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