How to Protect yourself from PayPal, Venmo and Cash App Scams
Ever been in a situation where you’ve wanted to transfer money to a friend quickly, receive payment from a client without sending in your banking details, or simply to split the bill after a good dinner with friends? There has never been an easier solution than online transfer applications like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App.
If you’re a freelancer or outsource work, these applications are a god-sent. Receive payments from clients, and transfer them with ease to outsourcing companies and freelancers using your mobile phone and an email address!
However, all good things come with their vices, and sometimes, these vices can even overshadow the good. One downside to these online money transfer platforms are different kinds of scams built to rob you of your money. These issues, however, can be solved. One simple solution could be by using a VPN for android—but more on that later.
For now, let’s talk about these apps and the scams they can land you in, in a little more detail.
What are cash apps and how do they work?
As discussed earlier, cash transfer applications like PayPal, Venmo and Cash App allow you to make money transfers without needing to send anyone your banking details. Cash App doesn’t even need you to connect a bank account; how cool is that?
Each application follows a slightly different methodology with it comes to its operation, letting you manage and shift money in different ways. Some applications like Cash App even let you make online investments, while others offer other features like splitting the bill.
Let’s look at how PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App operate one by one.
Where PayPal is a great option for business owners and freelancers because of the options offered, Venmo, a service that has actually been acquired by PayPal was created to really bring the concept of ‘going cashless’ home. This app lets you send, request, and receive money from friends and family and offers a more social and on-the-go-friendly way to split bills. Popular among millennials and the younger generation, this app allows for an easy way to ditch your credit cards and cash and pay using your phone wherever you go. If you’ve ever forgotten your wallet at home, this one will save you on embarrassing dinner moments!
Cash App is another platform for sending and receiving money that is similar to PayPal and Venmo. The app lets users create a free account that they can use to transfer money within their own country. The app works by letting you sign up and create a unique username and does not require you to even link a bank account. Cash app lets you transfer, save, shop online and even invest money.
Scams to Watch For
Even though these apps have made lives easier for so many of us by making a truly cashless culture possible, it doesn’t come without a few dangers that users need to wary of. Every online development comes with ways that it can be exploited and hackers have found new ways to extort and steal money using these cash transfer applications.
Let’s look at a few of these scams in greater detail.
Buying items with a stolen credit card
This scam is most popular with Venmo users and revolves around online selling. The internet has made online buying selling super easy. From T-shirts to cell phones and other electronic goods, all we need is a few minutes to find our items brand new homes.
Even though there are a million markets and marketplaces that you can sell your goods, hackers and scammers can use your Venmo account to steal your items or money. Here’s what happens:
- A scammer sees your ad and expresses interest in buying your item.
- The payment is sent, and they have the item picked up.
- Venmo later discovers that the buyer bought your item from a stolen credit card or bank information and reverses your transaction, leaving you with no payment for your goods.
If you’ve used up the money, you are requested to compensate for the payment from your own bank account.
If you’re familiar with phishing, you’d know that this scam is not limited to just emails, and some scammers even use phishing to get account access from people who use cash transfer applications.
This scam involves a scammer sending you a text message that is made to look like it is from the cash application. The scammer uses similar fonts, colors, and messaging to make it appear authentic.
This message usually ends in a link that the user is directed to follow and enter their credentials and other personal information. This link actually redirects to a fraudulent site and will let hackers and cybercriminals gain access to your account, credit card information, or even bank account information.
This kind of scam can end up with you losing large sums of money and even identity theft.
Even though most scams are carried out online through messaging and even texts, there are also hackers and criminals that are bold enough to scam you right there in your face. These could involve you just randomly running into a stranger while you’re out shopping who requests to use your cell phone.
Usually, this also involves a sob story about getting robbed and not having a phone on hand and needing to make a call, or something similar. The scammer will then pretend to call someone and when they don’t pick up, will ask you if they can send a text to someone.
If this person is a scammer, they will most likely open your cash transfer application and transfer funds to themselves.
Mysterious money in-app
Finally, this scam involves you finding some mysterious money in your cash transfer application. This happens when a scammer sends you a certain amount using either a stolen credit card or someone else’s banking information.
They will then send you a message telling you that they accidentally transferred some money in your account and if you could transfer it. Even if you transfer the money back to them, your cash transfer application service will discover the fraudulent activity and will take back all funds linked to your account.
If you’re an iPhone user, this scam can easily be avoided if you could download a VPN for iOS to encrypt the incoming and outgoing communication with the internet on your iPhone. The best VPN for iOS that you can opt for is Ivacy.
How To Protect Yourself From Payment App Scams
Fact be told, these scams are pretty common, and it’s not your fault if you fall victim to them. However, they can certainly be avoided. Here are a few things that will help you stay clear of falling into these traps.
Avoid Purchasing Products
Shopping or selling online means leaving a digital trail of your presence and existence that can be traced back to you and used against you. If the scammers simply don’t know you exist, they can’t really rob you.
Double-check details before transferring money
Even though these apps have made life much easier for us, it’s also really easy to mistakenly enter in the wrong details and send money to someone who will take advantage of the situation. The best way to avoid this is to always double-check and verify the details before you make the transfer.
Get Stronger Security
There can never be enough security when it comes to protecting your money. Most applications allow two-factor authentication to be set up so that every time you log in or attempt a transfer, the funds, a code will be sent to you to authenticate the access or transfer.
Another way to upgrade security around your mobile devices is to browse anonymously and securely by using a VPN.
How a VPN can Help
A good VPN service will effectively mask your IP address and hide your traffic, giving you an added layer of security against hackers and snoopers. Use a VPN especially when you’re transferring funds while being connected to public Wi-Fi to keep your information safe from prying eyes.
If you’re looking to subscribe to a high-quality VPN for android, try Ivacy—the best VPN for android. With up to 256-bit military-grade protection, this VPN makes your online communication almost impossible to decrypt while also keeping you safe against malware and DDoS cyberattacks.