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As many as one in 10 U.S. adults are affected by online scams every year. Scammers’ goal is to steal money from unsuspecting people, and they have recently taken to Cash App to further their devious ends.
Consider the following scenario: A random person has sent you money on Cash App. What should you do?
We will discuss several potential scenarios, and learn how to spot the red flags. When it comes to your finances, question anything that doesn’t feel right. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Three Potential Reasons A Random Person Would Send Money Through Cash App
1. Possible Scam
Cash App scammers are constantly finding new ways to target and victimize the app’s users. That random person attempting to send you money through Cash App could be attempting one of the following common scams:
The Refund Scam
This racket involves sending Cash App users money and then contacting them to claim that the transaction was an accident. This individual will then ask you to return the money back to a different account. They might ask you to provide them with additional funds when sending back the money, or they could actually have a way of accessing information about your account when you return the cash. Once they’ve received your refund, they could convince the Cash App support team that their initial payment was a mistake, and get a refund for the initial cash (so you end up paying them back twice).
The Fake Prize Scam
Scammers utilizing this method tell Cash App users that they’ve “won” some kind of reward. They send the “winner” a partial payment, and then ask that person to pay processing or admin fees to receive the remainder of the winnings. If the target acquiesces, he or she will end up losing money when the scammer runs off without ever paying out the bulk of the fake prize.
The Fake Payment Scam
If another Cash App user claims to have sent you money, but you don’t see it in your account, you may have become a victim of this last scam. This could be a potential buyer claiming to have sent you money for a product or service, but who never actually did, hoping that you’ll still provide them with the product in good faith. They might also attempt to convince you to send the money back to them, even though they never sent it to you in the first place – thus scamming you into giving them free cash.
2. Accidental Payment
Accidents do happen. The people behind all Cash App accounts are real, and no one is perfect – so it’s possible that you could eventually receive an accidental payment. Your $Cashtag name may be similar to another individual’s, and was typed in by mistake.
If this happens to you, refrain from touching the money that’s appeared in your account, and don’t send it back. The person contacting you is still a complete stranger, and whoever made the accidental payment might still be able to reverse the transaction.
Use Cash App’s “refund payment” option to send back the cash as soon as the app itself tells you that it’s safe to return the funds. Never send a separate payment to the sender.
3. Random Act of Kindness
I’ve tried to think the best of any random person who has attempted to send me free money through Cash App. After all, it really could be a random act of kindness- especially if the amount is low (like $5 or $10). I have actually received a couple of payments from people who just want to say “thank you.”
It’s ultimately unlikely that anyone will randomly send free payments to your Cash App account. It is best to assume that this is an accident, and wait to see what happens next before spending that money.
Related: How to Borrow Money from Cash App
What To Do if a Random Person Sent Money on Cash App?
If a random person sends you money via Cash App, err on the side of caution, and do what you can to figure out what’s going on. Don’t spend the money until you determine where it came from.
Ask Friends and Family
Before concluding that the money was sent by a generous stranger, ask your friends and family members with a Cash App account if they sent you the cash. Maybe someone you know recently changed their $Cashtag name, and you just didn’t recognize the sender.
Since Cash App users can choose their own usernames, you might just have been confused and failed to associate the $Cashtag name with the actual person behind the account.
Ask Cash App for Help
The best and fastest way to get help from Cash App is through the actual app. Navigate to the support page, select “Something Else” from the options, and share the reason why you’re contacting support. These details will help you get a faster response and allow Cash App to understand why you need help.
You can alternatively call the support team at 1-(800)-969-1940.
Wait and See
The random person who sent you money on Cash App can request to have the transaction reversed on their end within a certain timeframe. Don’t spend the money right away. If you have already spent the cash, but the other user requests a transaction reversal, Cash App will withdraw the funds, potentially leaving your account with a negative balance.
Related: Where Can I Load My Cash App Card?
Is It Ever OK to Accept Money From Strangers on Cash App?
Some scenarios would make it allowable to accept money from strangers on Cash App. If you are hosting a fundraiser and asking participants to send money to your Cash App account, you will likely get several responses from people you don’t know. Ask individuals to include a memo with the transaction, confirming that they are sending you money as part of your event.
Churches often receive money from random people as part of tithing and offerings. Using Cash App to collect tithes and providing the church’s $Cashtag username to the public can increase the likelihood of that account’s receiving funds from random people.
There should always be a legitimate purpose behind anyone’s sending money to your Cash App. If you can’t find the reason behind the transaction, it’s likely unsafe to spend the money without first contacting Cash App.
Cash App Is Safe to Use If You Take Precautions
Cash App is unfortunately still party to the ubiquitous scammers who are constantly evolving. Take precautions to keep yourself and your money safe.
Keep an eye out for any random people who want to send you money through the app. Question those transactions, do your due diligence, and contact Cash App if you are ever concerned.
Download Cash App for a better money management experience, plus options to keep more of what you earn.
Related: How to Flip Money on Cash App