BALTIMORE — Payment apps make it easy to send friends money, but they’ve also become a breeding ground for scams.
Rodna Thompson was recently baited into calling Cash App customer support, except she didn’t reach a representative, it was an impostor. And in just a few minutes, he stole nearly a thousand dollars from her checking account.
“Somebody sent me a message that said somebody is giving you $300 in Cash App and I said, ‘Oh! Someone’s giving me $300? I wonder who that is,’” said Thompson.
Thompson didn’t see the deposit in her account, so she googled the phone number for Cash App customer support.
“He answered the phone and he said, ‘Cash App, how can I help you?’ And I said somebody is trying to send me $300, I have no idea who it’s from. I said can you give me some type of assistance? And he said sure, hold on,” Thompson recalled.
The man asked her to click on a link that said Cash App support team so he could better assist her, which gave him access to her phone.
“He was in my phone and I saw him writing $999 and he clicked on Zelle and I said, wait a minute, why are you in my Zelle account? My Zelle account has nothing to do with Cash App and I said oh my god, you must be a scammer and I hurried up and hung up the phone,” said Thompson. “And when I checked my checking account, $999 was gone in a matter of two minutes, that’s how good he was.”
She called her bank and disputed the transfer. This was money she couldn’t afford to lose.
“My family is so close they already said they were going to pitch in to give it back to me because I’m a retired teacher, 38 years, and I’m on a fixed income. I get a retirement check, so they knew I didn’t have that to spare. They were willing to all pitch in to give me back my money,” said Thompson.
Thompson’s bank ended up reimbursing her, and she said she learned that if someone sends you money, verify the source first.
“I guess I was just so excited to get that $300, I didn’t call first. I immediately called Cash App to let them know that I cannot retrieve this $300,” said Thompson.
Thompson added that it won’t happen again because she deleted all her apps.
“I canceled Venmo, I cancelled Moneygram, Zelle, any cash app because I really think there’s a scam out there for all of them. And I informed all my friends and family, if I want to give you money or owe you money, I’ll be writing you a check. To be honest with you, that’s the only app I trust is writing a check,” said Thompson.
There are currently no phone numbers that you can call to speak with Cash Support.
Customers can call their main line for automated instructions. If you speak with someone over the phone claiming to be a Cash App representative, it’s likely a scam.
And never ever give out your sign-in code over the phone, social media, or any other medium.
The Maryland Bankers Association said phishing attacks have increased in frequency and sophistication.
"One of my information sources indicated that a lot of the peer-to-peer payment scams stem from phishing scams. Phishing attacks are when the bad actors use “spoofed” emails and/or fake websites of trusted companies to trick consumers into sharing account information," wrote Mindy Lehman, the Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Communications with the Maryland Bankers Association. "The banking industry works every day to combat phishing schemes by educating their employees and customers, installing fraud detection software and working with industry coalitions. Banks also work closely with industry coalitions to combat criminals. These groups help identify new scams and develop counter-phishing methods. Recently, the American Bankers Association and the banking industry has launched a national campaign BanksNeverAskThat anti-phishing campaign to help educate people on what to do and importantly – not to do."