Cash App Or Cash Trap: The Dark Side Of Peer-to-Peer Fraud

Can you imagine getting scammed and not being able to get your money back? If you use platforms like but not limited to Venmo, PayPal, Zelle and Cash App, this is a common situation in cases of fraud. While money transfer services like these have made it very easy to send money to our family and friends, it has also become the perfect tool for fraudsters to steal your hard-earned cash. And unlike protected purchases or traditional banking transactions, these types of transfers often lack protection against fraud, meaning once your money is gone-it is gone.

What is Peer-to-Peer Fraud?

Peer-to Peer fraud or P2P fraud occurs when scammers use Peer-to-Peer platforms such as Cash App to trick people into sending money under false pretenses.

What Are The Red Flags Of P2P Fraud?

Unsolicited Requests:  Not expecting any money transfer requests? Proceed with caution, scammers often trick individuals by requesting money back due to an “accidental” money transfer to their account.

False Pretense: Scammers will pretend to be individuals or organizations that are familiar to you. Technology such as AI has made it simpler for scammers to impersonate family, friends and trusted businesses to deceive individuals into sending them money.

Suspicious Links and Requests: Along with unsolicited requests, there may be emails or text messages from an impersonator asking their victims to check out a link or provide their personal information, these could all be phishing or smishing attempts to steal your login information.

It Sounds Too Good: Speaking of suspicious links, fraudsters will send an email that looks like an email from the P2P provider and inform their victims they won a cash prize. If an individual never entered a competition or drawing, this is most likely a scam. Scammers will often use a prize as bait to instruct an individual to log into their account via the link or provide information to claim it. Scammers do this so they can use the information to access their victim’s accounts or install malware in their devices.

Urgent Request: The most prominent sign of P2P fraud is when scammers create a sense of urgency to manipulate their victims into sending them money. Their primary objective is for individuals to act fast and give them no time to think nor check with their loved ones to verify the request.

Don’t Let Them Steal Your Money, Here Is How:

Verify Identities: Before you make any money transfers via a P2P platform, take time to verify the identity of the recipient. Always use a well-established phone number to call an individual to inquire about their request, be wary of a new number or contact.

Don’t Send Money Back: If you receive an unsolicited deposit through your P2P app, followed by a request asking for the money back because of an “accidental” transfer to your account, stop. Don’t engage with the unknown party, instead contact the P2P platform directly and inquire about this transfer. Often, these transactions come from stolen or fraudulent accounts and the P2P provider will reverse any transactions involved with said accounts. However, in most cases, any money sent by you will not be returned.

Stay Updated: Ensure your apps, phone and devices are up to date on with the latest security features and settings.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Protect your accounts by enabling this feature whenever possible. In the event a scammer gets your login and password information, the Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) email or text will alert you of a new unknown device trying to get into your account. If you do not recognize this attempt, you can prevent the new device from getting access to your accounts. If this happens, you’ll need to change your username and password immediately.

Keep Codes to Yourself: Never share verification codes with anyone, ignore requests who claim to be a representative from these P2P platforms. The only way a Two-Factor Authentication code can protect you is by you protecting it in return. Don’t trust an individual stating they need your verification code to identify you, fraudsters are most likely trying to log into your accounts.

Take Your Time: If it’s a true emergency, call the people involved in the stated emergency using phone numbers you recognize. Otherwise, most likely it is a scam. If you feel pressured to act quickly, slow down and ask yourself, does this request make sense? Has your friend or company ever reached out to you in this way? It’s okay to hang up and say you will call them directly through the contact information you have instead.

At Piedmont Advantage Credit Union, we strive to empower individuals to identify and prevent P2P fraud. We urge everyone to stay vigilant and always proceed with caution when transferring money to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraudulent schemes.

If you have any questions or concerns about P2P fraud, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.


Stay safe, stay secure.

Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and founded in 1949 within the aviation industry, Piedmont Advantage Credit Union (PACU) serves member-owners, who reside, work, worship, attend school or operate a business in one of the six counties it serves in North Carolina or who are employed by one of its many employer companies. These six counties are Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Rockingham.

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