CLEVELAND — If you use an app to send money to someone, you'll want to read this. While using these apps has become a convenience, for some in our area, it’s been a nightmare as they’ve lost hundreds of dollars.
“It’s a feeling of helplessness. You know?” said Margaret Lowe, 54, from Cleveland. She couldn’t figure it out. “I’m panicking. I’m like… where’s my money?”
Lowe said her daughter tried to get her $1,500 through the money-exchange service called Cash App. However, instead of the money going to her regular account, it went to a completely different bank. “That $1,500 was for me to pay my rent and my light and my gas,” she said with a tear in her eye.
She told us she contacted what she thought was Cash App Support. It asked for her account information but then said it couldn’t “provide further information for this particular case.”
“That’s the reason why I called on you, because I want this to get out,” said Lowe. “I want everyone to know what is going on!"
News 5's Jonathan Walsh hosted a Q&A with experts from the FTC and Cleveland BBB for Consumer Protection Week.
LOWE IS NOT ALONE
“I was mad. I was upset. I couldn’t believe it,” said Robert Taylor from Lorain. He called us, too. “To this day they are still going in my phone and pulling out.”
He told us rent from his tenants disappeared one day last fall — over $800 was just gone. Taylor told us he went to his bank several times trying to clear this up and even heard from what he thought was the app’s support.
“They were supposed to have been working with Cash App and they wanted me to go to WalMart and get a gift card,” said Taylor. Luckily he didn’t do that.
“You just need to be aware of this with these payment apps,” said Sue McConnell. She’s the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland. She told us people have to be careful when discussing your information that is unique to a money-exchange app. “And they start asking you for your PIN, your sign-on information, your banking information,” she explained.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT MONEY-EXCHANGE SERVICE
There have been thousands of complaints about Cash App on several review sites. Recently, one person wrote, “Someone accessed my account and taken money without my approval.” Another wrote, “The recipient never received the money that I sent.” And so many more.
There have been BBB warnings including, from eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. It reports that consumers found fake Cash App customer support after searching online for a Cash App phone number.
5 on Your Side Investigators have asked the real Cash App to reach out to Taylor and Lowe. Both told us they’ve been contacted.
“I am in need,” said Taylor. “I have bills that I have to pay. And I’m in some disconnection notices because they took my money. It’s been hard trying to put it back.”
“I am very emotional about this,” said Lowe with a quiver in her voice. “I don’t understand why someone would take advantage (of people).”
Keep in mind, money transfer apps like Cash, Venmo, and Zelle don’t have FDIC insurance or all the protections a standard bank offers.
CASH APP RESPONDS
Here’s the full statement from a Cash App Spokesperson:
“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.”
The company also told us it’s using Artificial Intelligence to help spot scams and spam on the app. Plus, it said it’s using text messages to help inform customers about suspicious log-in attempts, and it’s prompting customers multiple times to ask about sending money to people who may be outside of the clients’ contact list.