By Kerri O'Brien and Nexstar Media Wire
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Money transfer apps like Venmo, Zelle and Cash App have been growing in popularity during the pandemic, and scammers have found a way to use at least one of them to con you out of your cash.
Cash App, a peer-to-peer payment app developed by Square, lets you send and receive money instantly. About 30 million people use the app, which is valued at more than $40 billion.
Troy Harrison found the app convenient for his business. Then the Norfolk, Virginia, resident noticed a payment to him was suddenly and mysteriously refunded from his account.
“I pull up Cash App immediately and I see $100 drop off,” Harrison said.
Before he could make sense of it, more money disappeared.
“Within about 15-20 minutes later, another $202 drop(s) off. So now, I am, like, scared,” he said.
He couldn’t find a phone number to call, and Cash App doesn’t have live customer support, so Harrison sent an email.
“I reach out to Cash App, and they took about two days to get back to me,” Harrison said.
It was discovered that someone disputed a payment to him, and when no one from Cash App contacted Harrison about it, more payments were disputed, draining Harrison’s account.
He said he’s out hundreds of dollars, and Cash App told him there was nothing they could do.
Harrison’s not the only one with Cash App complaints.
“We get calls daily,” said Barry N. Moore, president and CEO of the Central Virginia Better Business Bureau.
He said the local BBB has received more than 30 complaints in just the past few months.
“It’s just a big mess,” Moore said.
The only way to talk to Cash App is through the app and website, so scammers pose as Cash App customer service representatives.
Moore explained how the scam works. He said most of the complaints to the BBB have come from Cash App customers who did Google searches for support after encountering app issues. Their searches led to believable but bogus Cash App websites and fake customer service numbers. Scammers are standing by ready to steal your money, he said.
“One of these things, when you call this number, they’ll say, ‘Let’s try a transfer,'” he said.
One of the fake sites, cashappcontact.com, is listed as headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.
WRIC found that the listed Richmond address doesn’t exist.
On a call to the listed number, a woman identifying herself as a representative for Cash App support was asked where the business was located.
She said, “California ma’am, California. It’s in California.”
When challenged about the Richmond address, the woman hung up.
“These are professional thieves,” Moore said.
Cash App is aware of the scams and a real company number — 855-351-2274 — directing you to its app for support plays this recording: “Please be aware that Cash App employees are often impersonated by scammers circulating fake phone numbers online.”
We are always working to protect our customers, which includes educating them about phishing scams. 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. If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, you should contact Cash App support through the app or website immediately. For more information on common online scams, please visit https://cash.app/help/us/en-us/6482-recognize-scams.
Meanwhile, Harrison is no longer using Cash App for his business.
“It was a bad experience,” he said.
The BBB said the best way to protect yourself from money transfer scams is to only send money to people you know, link money transfers to a credit card, and never send money using public Wi-Fi. If you think you’ve been scammed, the BBB encourages you to report it.