Indianapolis – Mark White is a senior citizen who lives on a steady income.
So, when the North Vernon guy received a letter offering to make money fast, he decided to give it a shot.
Instead, White became a victim of a “money flip” scam, or get-rich-quick scam.
White met a woman named “Elizabeth” on a social dating site.
She told him she worked for an investment company in Florida.
“She said if I send her $500, she’ll invest it through her company in five days I’ll see a profit,” White said. “Being on a stable income and Social Security, and barely meeting up, I figured I’d take a chance and roll the dice,” White said. “So, I sent her $500 via Bitcoin.”
White says days later via Google Chat, the investment firm told him his $500 profit had made $5,960.
They requested information from Cash App, a digital wallet service, and asked White to receive his money that he needed to send an additional $2,000.
“I told them no,” White said. “Then they asked to log into my bank account to deposit the money, so I said no.”
White contacted the FBI, IC3, the Indiana attorney general, and the Better Business Bureau.
BBB says it’s a get-rich-quick scam where “investors” ask you to send or receive money through a Cash app or other digital wallet service.
“Someone will reach out to you claiming they can turn your small investment into a bigger return, and then what happens is that once you send that money, they will say there are taxes you have to pay, or that the app you are using has asked for money,” said Jennifer Adamani, a BBB spokeswoman. Serving Central Indiana: “Whatever it is, you’re putting money in a crook’s pockets.”
Scammers may also demand that the Cash App charges a fee to return your money.
Adamani said, “If they reach out to you without asking, that’s a red flag there. Watch for the buzzwords. If they guarantee anything you’ll make a profit, that’s a huge red flag. Any investment there is no guarantee that you will get a return on that money.”
Mark White now knows that Elizabeth does not exist, and it is possible that she is a cheat in a foreign country.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s five cents or five million dollars,” White said. “Fraud is fraud.”
BBB tips to avoid money-flipping scams:
- Tell the real cash giveaway app of a scam. Since 2017, Cash App has been giving out weekly gifts under the hashtag #CashAppFriday. The company partners with companies and celebrities, who ask users to retweet or comment on their social posts in the hope that they will be selected for a cash prize. Scammers often use similar language and pretend to be part of an official gift. Make sure the giveaway is real before responding.
- Search online. Before contacting a potential scammer, perform a web search for their username or phone number. If it was a scam, other victims would likely have posted complaints and information online.
- Be very wary of buzzwords. Certain phrases should raise a red flag. Don’t believe anything that is “guaranteed” to do a good job, or offers little or no risk with a high return. Anyone claiming to be able to turn a small investment into piles of cash in just a few minutes is a scam artist.
- Treat the Cash app like cash. Once you send money through the Cash app, you may not be able to get that money back. It is now the payment method of choice for scammers, so be careful.
A Cash App spokesperson provided the following statement:
“Fraud prevention is critical to the Cash app. We continue to invest in and enhance fraud-fighting resources by increasing staffing and adopting new technology. We are constantly improving systems and controls to help prevent, detect, and report bad activity on the platform.”
Cash App provided the following information about what the company is doing to tackle fraud:
- Customer Profiles for Cash Apps: The Cash app contains customer profiles built into the app which provide information about the recipient so that the sender can confirm that their payment has been sent to the correct person.
- Cash app profiles include information about the potential recipient, such as when they joined the Cash app, a photo of a user you can zoom in, whether or not they’re in your phone contacts, and whether they’ve received payments from other people the customer paid or other people in your contacts Customer’s phone.
- Cash app customers must send payments to people they trust. When sending a payment to someone, the recipient profile is available to click and review before sending a payment. If the user sends a payment to someone for the first time, the Cash app prompts the users to verify the customer profile first.
- We recently released an AI-powered feature that identifies potential spam or payment scams in the app. Customers can also block a specific sender or recipient.
- Outside of the app, we’ve started posting SMS text messages with links to customers when we suspect login attempts look unusual.
- If a customer sends money to someone we think is not in their contact list, we’ll ask them to double check that they want to send money to the account.
- Customers can also report scams or fraud in the app to our attention.
Working with platforms:
- We actively monitor major platforms (eg Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), and report scams and scams to those platforms as soon as they come to our attention.
- We are also actively improving search rankings, discoverability of the Cash app help pages, and customer support contact information.
- We have worked with various platforms to deactivate all accounts that seek to benefit our customers or infringe our intellectual property rights (eg: use our name or logo without permission).
- As a result of our proactive reporting, we were also able to work in concert with the platforms to remove fraudulent pages containing a fake 1-800 number falsely pretending to be a cash app. Cash App’s phone number is 1-800-969-1940 Customers and non-customers can contact us through this number.
- We have strong relationships with social platforms and do everything we can to educate those platforms to reduce abuse there.
- We have a support presence on 6 social media platforms where Cash App Support can be contacted directly – Twitter, FB, TikTok, Instagram, App Store reviews and a Cash app subreddit.
- On Twitter, we have our own dedicated support presence that is independent of our (CashSupport) brand account.
- The Social Response team also responds to customers who reach out for support through LinkedIn comments on our brand posts and people processes.
How to access the Cash app:
- If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, you should contact Cash App Support through the app, website or phone number below.
- The Cash App team will never ask customers to send money to them, nor will they ask for a customer’s PIN or login code outside the app.
- Cash App’s phone number is 1-800-969-1940 Customers and non-customers can contact us through this number.
- Let customers know that please be aware that Cash App employees are often scammed by scammers who distribute fake phone numbers online. Never call anyone who claims to represent Cash App on any other number. And remember, Cash will never ask you for your PIN or login code.