Is Cash App safe?

Cash App is a popular peer-to-peer payment service that makes transferring money between mobile phones easy. But is Cash App safe? A couple of recent whistleblowers don’t seem to think so. They allege that Cash App operates without customer due diligence.

The app does indeed attract its fair share of scammers, but this may be just a reflection of its impressive market share rather than a Cash App issue. If you’re one of the people wondering whether to trust the app, read on to find out whether it’s safe to use and how to avoid being scammed.

How does Cash App work?

Cash App was launched in 2013 as a way for people to send and receive money, invest in stocks or Bitcoin, file taxes, and pay for stuff – all through a mobile phone app.

Cash App users link a bank account, debit card, or a credit card. This enables them to pay – or request money from – other Cash App users who’ve done the same. Each user creates a username, which is called a $Cashtag. Other users can find individuals or businesses by searching for their $Cashtag, or by searching for their name, phone number or email address.

Funds can be transferred from users’ linked payment sources or by using their Cash App balance. Funds received are added to the Cash App balance by default. These can subsequently be transferred to a linked bank account (with a charge of between 0.50% and 1.75% of the transfer amount for those who want it done immediately). Fee-free transfers take one to three days to complete.

Cash App is, overall, very easy to use and convenient. However this is also what makes it attractive to scammers who will try all manner of low-level tricks to get other users to send money to them.

How to avoid Cash App scams

Cash App scams are widespread. Complaints involving payments made using Cash App in 2021 increased 472% in just one year, with the median loss being approximately $500. gives the examples of a user from Texas who reported losing $15,000 and a user in Pennsylvania who lost $5,000.

Scams involving Cash App are common enough for the company to provide detailed guidance on how to recognize and avoid them. Its suggestions include the following:

  • Be wary of being contacted by people claiming to be Cash App representatives – Cash App says that no one representing the company will ever ask for a user’s sign-in code over the phone, via email or on social media. Furthermore, it will never ask a user to send it a payment, or provide sensitive information such as full bank account information or a Social Security Number. Cash App says that users are unlikely to recover any money lost by allowing a third party access to their account.
  • Don’t respond to people making claims that they can “flip” your money – Scammers will contact users with promises that they can increase (“flip”) a user’s money if they are sent funds (sometimes referred to as a “clearance fee”). Users who do send money are unlikely to receive anything in return.
  • Avoid anyone claiming to be selling purebred puppies (or other highly sought after animals) for suspiciously low prices – Scammers may use fake photos to appear legitimate. To avoid being scammed, only ever transfer money after meeting the seller in person. Do not pay for anything in advance, as Cash App will not provide a refund if the seller fails to deliver on their promises.
  • Don’t be tempted by offers of cheap accommodation – Scammers may offer access to low-cost property for rent or purchase. They will ask interested parties to send a deposit via Cash App. Again, it’s important not to send money to people you’ve never met. “Deposits” lost to scammers will not be refunded by Cash App.
  • Ignore requests to return money sent by “mistake” – Scammers may send money to you from a stolen card, and then request that you return it. Rather than going back to the stolen card, the returned money goes to an account associated with the attacker. Eventually, the fraudulent transfer from the stolen card is identified and reversed – leaving you out of pocket. Contact Cash App customer support if you unexpectedly receive money. Do not be tempted to spend it.

What to do if you’ve been scammed

It’s all too easy to become a victim of a scam. If it happens to you, take the following actions:

  1. Change your Cash App PIN number.
  2. Change the passwords of any accounts linked to Cash App.
  3. Contact Cash App customer support team.
  4. Report the scam to your local police department and obtain a crime reference number.
  5. Also report the scam on the Federal Trade Commission’s Report Fraud site.
  6. Contact your bank and let them know you’ve been scammed. Monitor your bank balance for signs of fraudulent activity. Report any that you discover.

Could Cash App do more to stop scams?

In March 2023, market investment research firm, Hindenburg, reported that employees at Block (the company behind Cash App) estimated that “40% to 75% of accounts they reviewed were fake, involved in fraud or were additional accounts tied to a single individual”.

Given that Cash App had more than 50 million active customers at the time, these figures made for unsettling reading. Block responded by estimating that “verified accounts constituted roughly 97% of Cash App inflows”.

Less than a year later, in early 2024, two whistleblowers alleged that Cash App was making it unduly easy for ne’er-do-wells to open accounts. Specifically they claimed that the Cash App program “had no effective procedure to establish the identity of its customers”.

In documents shown to NBC News, the whistleblowers detailed an “array of questionable Cash App transactions with entities under sanction by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, operations known to sell personal information and credit card data for illegal purposes, and offshore gambling sites barred to U.S. citizens”.

According to the whistleblowers’ lawyer, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) referred the whistleblowers’ complaint to internal investigators as well as to other federal agencies. What comes of this remains to be seen.

For its part, Cash App says that it “is not immune to bad actors attempting to use the platform for illicit purposes”. In a statement, it said that it employs “several hundred people who support Cash App’s Know Your Customer/due diligence, anti-money laundering and related compliance functions, and augment that workforce with supplemental staffing and resources.”

Is Cash App secure?

At this point, Cash App might be starting to seem positively dangerous. It’s not, provided you use it cautiously.

The company behind Cash App has plenty of experience producing secure platforms, having previously built Square – a trusted point-of-sale product enabling mobile devices to process credit card payments in commercial settings.

It’s also reassuring that Cash App was able to attract banking and other financial service partners. These notoriously cautious bodies would be unlikely to lend their names to weakly built software.

Cash App’s website says it uses “cutting-edge encryption and fraud detection technology” to keep customers’ data and money secure. It also says that any user-submitted information “is encrypted and sent to our servers securely, regardless of whether you’re using a public or private Wi-Fi connection or data service”.

Cash App is PCI Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) Level 1 compliant. This, it says, “is the highest level of security compliance for merchants that process payments”.

How to use Cash App safely

In addition to learning how to recognise potential scams, Cash App users should make a habit of doing the following:

  • Enable the Security Lock setting so that every Cash App payment and Cash Out requires a passcode.
  • Enable notification via text message or email so that you’re notified after every Cash transaction.
  • Only send money to people you know. Verify the recipient’s name and double-check the spelling of $cashtags, phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Check that any email purportedly from Cash App is sent from an,, or address. Slight deviations in these addresses should act as a red flag. Valid Cash App emails will only contain links to websites at,, or If an email contains links to other websites, assume it’s a scam.
  • Make sure to sign out of Cash App if you ever use it on a shared device.

Related: Common PayPal scams and how to avoid them