INDIANAPOLIS — Mark White is a senior citizen who lives on a fixed income.
So, when the North Vernon man received a message offering to make money quickly, he decided to give it a shot.
Instead, White became a victim of a “money flipping” scam, or get rich quick scam.
White met a woman named “Elizabeth” on a social media dating site.
She told him she worked for an investment company in Florida.
“She said if I sent her $500 she would invest it through her company after five days I'd see a profit,” White said. “With being on a fixed income and Social Security, barely getting by, I figured I'd take a chance and roll the dice,” said White. “So, I sent her the $500 via Bitcoin."
White says days later over Google Chat, the investment company told him his $500 had turned a $5,960 profit.
They asked for his Cash App information, which is a digital wallet service, and told White to receive his money he needed to send an additional $2,000.
"I told them no,” White said. “Then they asked for my bank account login to deposit the funds. I told them no."
White contacted the FBI, IC3, the Indiana Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB says it’s a get-rich-quick scam where the “investors” ask you to send or receive money through Cash App or another digital wallet service.
"Someone will reach out to you claiming they can flip your smaller investment into a larger return and then what happens is once you send that money they'll say there's taxes you have to pay, or the app you're using has requested money,” said Jennifer Adamany, a spokesperson for the BBB Serving Central Indiana. “Whatever it may be, you're actually putting money into the scammer's pockets."
The scammers may also claim Cash App charges a fee to return your money.
"If they reached out to you unsolicited, that's a red flag right there,” Adamany said. “Keep an eye out for buzz words. If they guarantee anything that you'll get a profit, that's a huge red flag. Any investment there's no guarantee you'll get a return on that money. "
Mark White now knows that Elizabeth doesn’t exist, and is likely a scammer in a foreign country.
“It doesn't matter if it's five cents or $5 million,” White said. “Fraud is fraud."
BBB Tips to Avoid Money Flipping Scams:
- Tell a real Cash App giveaway from a scam. Since 2017, Cash App has been running weekly giveaways under the hashtag #CashAppFriday. The company partners with businesses and celebrities, who ask users to retweet or comment on their social posts in hopes of being selected for a cash prize. Scammers often use similar language and pretend like they are part of an official giveaway. Make sure a giveaway is real before you respond.
- Search online. Before contacting the potential scammer, do a web search of their username or phone number. If it's a scam, chances are that other victims 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 well, or that offers low or no risk with a high return. Anyone who claims to be able to turn a small investment into piles of cash in mere minutes is a scam artist.
- Treat Cash App like cash. Once you send money through Cash App, you may not be able to get that money back. It’s now scammers payment method of choice, so be careful.
A Cash App spokesperson provided the following statement:
“Preventing fraud is critically important to Cash App. We continue to invest in and bolster fraud-fighting resources by both 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 on what the company does to address fraud:
- Education: We are always working to protect our customers, which includes educating them about potential scams [cash.app]. Additionally, we've shared information about how to avoid scams on our Cash App Support Twitter [twitter.com], the official Cash App Twitter [twitter.com] and Instagram [instagram.com] accounts, via the contact Cash App link on our website [cash.app], and within the Cash App [cash.app] Help Center which can be found both online and through the app.
- Cash App Customer Profiles: Cash App has customer profiles built into the app which provide information on a recipient so that a sender can confirm they’re sending their payment to the correct person.
- Cash App Profiles include information on a potential recipient, such as the date they joined Cash App, a user photo that you can zoom in on, whether or not they’re in your phone contacts, and whether they’ve received payments from other people the customer has paid or other people in the customer’s phone contacts.
- Cash App customers should send payments to people they trust. When sending a payment to someone, the recipient’s Profile profile is available to click and review before you send a payment. If a user is sending a payment to someone for the first time, Cash App prompts users to check the customer profile first.
- We recently released an AI-driven feature that flags potential spam or scams for payments in the app. Customers can also block a given sender or recipient.
- Outside the app, we've started deploying SMS text messages with links to customers when we suspect that login attempts look unusual.
- If a customer is sending money to a person who we think is not in their contact list, we’ll double prompt them to make sure they want to send money to the account.
- Customers may also report fraud or scams in the app for our attention.
Working with Platforms:
- We actively monitor major platforms (like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc), and report scams and fraud to those platforms as they come to our attention.
- We also are actively undertaking work to improve search rankings and discoverability of Cash App's help pages and customer support contact information.
- We have been working with various platforms to deactivate all accounts that seek to take advantage of our customers or infringe our intellectual property rights (eg: use our name or logo without permission).
- As a result of our proactive reporting, we've also been able to work in coordination with platforms to take down fraudulent pages with fake 1-800 numbers falsely posing as Cash App. Cash App's phone number is 1-800-969-1940 and customers and non-customers can contact us through that 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 the Cash App subreddit
- On Twitter, we have our own dedicated support presence independent of our Brand account (@CashSupport)
- The Social Response team also responds to customers who reach out for support through LinkedIn comments on our Brand & People Ops posts
How to Reach Cash App:
- If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, you should contact Cash App Support through the app, website, or the phone number below.
- 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.
- Cash App's phone number is 1-800-969-1940 and customers and non-customers can contact us through that number.
- We let customers know to please be aware that Cash App employees are often impersonated by scammers circulating fake phone numbers online. Never call anyone claiming to represent Cash App at any other number. And remember that Cash App will never ask for your PIN or sign-in code.