By SUBMITTED BY THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU on November 20, 2020.
Scammers are taking advantage of people’s get-rich-quick dreams by promoting “money flipping” scams on social media, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is seeing dozens of reports each month about these cons.
How the Scam Works:
You see a photo of a pile of cash on social media. In the caption, the user brags about having “flipped” a couple hundred dollars into thousands. Want to do it, too? It’s easy. Just message the account holder. The “investor” will ask you to send money, typically $300 to $800, through Cash App or another digital wallet service. Then, they “invest” your money in the stock market where it multiplies in a few days.
Sounds great, right? Here’s the catch. When you try to get your money back, the scammer claims that Cash App charges a fee to return it. In other cases, the con artist alleges that you first need to pay taxes. Some victims report sending thousands of dollars in phony fees. Every dollar you pay for money flipping, from the initial “investment” to the alleged taxes, is going straight into the scammer’s pocket. You won’t see any of your money again.
Cash App and its parent company Square are aware that scammers are using its platform in this way and they have communicated with customers who have been impacted by certain scams. They recommend that any customer in need of additional assistance contact their support team cash.app/help.
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 buzz words. 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 though Cash App, you may not be able to get that money back. It’s now scammers payment method of choice, so be careful.