Peer to Peer Payment Payment Services (P2P) such as Zelle, Venmo, ApplePay, PayPal, Square Cash and PopMoney are popular ways to quickly and conveniently send money electronically from your credit card or bank account. Recently, the P2P service Cash App has become very popular with thirty million people downloading the Cash App app in 2020.  Cash App is free and you can use it to send or receive money from other Cash App users in your own country.  It does not provide services outside of your own country.  These services also provide easy ways to be scammed and unlike scams targeting your credit cards directly, you may not have as much protection under the law to get your money back if you do get scammed. Once you have sent funds to a scammer thorugh CashApp it is virtually impossible to get the money back.

Some common scams using Cash App involves scammers setting up phony Cash App customer service phone numbers and websites such that when you search online through Google or some other search engine, the phony customer service number comes up.  This is because the major search engines cannot vet every website and a clever scammer can manipulate the algorithms usedf by Google and other search engines to select websites for high ranking in a search to make their bogus website appear high in a search engine search.  People calling the phony customer support number will be prompted to provide information about their Cash App account which will enable the scammer to steal money from the account of the Cash App user.  The truth is that Cash App, like a lot of services, does not have a phone number that you cna call to reach a Cash App service representative. Cash App does have an automated support line at 1-800-351-2275, but it will not allow you to reach an actual person and you will never be asked to pprovide your sign-in code or PIN

Recently Money Crashers did a did a survey of users of P2P services and found that 52% of users were not even concerned with the security of these payment apps, which is disconcerting considering many instances of fraud involving these services.


Before signing up for any P2P service, you should familiarize yourself with their fraud protection rules. In the fine print of many P2P services, you may find that you have little, if any, protection if you use the account to purchase something that ends up to be a scam. While PayPal offers significant protection from fraudulent transactions, Cash App, Zelle and Venmo, for example do not offer such protection, which is why these services should never be used for commercial transactions, but only to transfer small amounts of money to people you know. In order to protect your account from being hacked and being taken over by a scammer who could access your credit card or bank account, you should use a PIN or other dual factor authentication whenever your particular service provides for it. Linking your P2P service to a credit card is a good choice because if your account is tied to a credit card, you should be able to get the amount fraudulently taken refunded from your credit card company in accordance with federal law.  If your account is tied to a bank account, you may be able to get the money refunded only if you report it immediately pursuant to the Electronic Transfer Act.  However, any delay in reporting the fraud from your bank account could cost you dearly.

To avoid having your Cash App account or other P2P accounts from being taken over by hackers, never provide your username, password or PIN in response to any email, text message or phone call unless you have absolutely confirmed that the request for this information is legitimate, which it never is. You can confirm this by contacting your bank or other company by calling them at a telephone number you know is accurate.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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