Telegram Scams & How to Avoid Them

Telegram has a reputation for being a private and secure messaging service. It’s definitely a lot better than most popular messaging apps, like Meta’s WhatsApp or Messenger, but arguably still falls short of Signal, Matrix, and Session in terms of privacy and security.

The fact that most conversations on Telegram are truly private coupled with its creators’ pro-free-speech stance means that Telegram is a bit more Wild West than many other popular messaging apps. Having long been the favorite haunt of “crypto bros” and blockchain enthusiasts means that there are more crypto scams on Telegram than many other places.

Read on to learn why these scams are worth knowing about, how some of the most common scams work, and what you should do when you come across them. Already fallen for a Telegram scam? We’ve got you covered with tips and resources for damage control and recovery.

Telegram scams—why you should care

Even if you don’t think you could ever fall for any of the scams described below, you need to know how they work. If you’re on Telegram then it’s a pretty safe bet that so are some of your friends and family. Maybe you’re even the one who convinced them to come across. Help keep them safe by staying up to date.

You also don’t want a false sense of security to be your downfall. A well-crafted scam can catch anyone off guard, and at least one of the scams below can reach out and defraud people who have never even heard of Telegram.

Looking through the most common scams on Telegram, you’ll notice that they all end in one of three ways: the victim sends the scammers money, the scammers steal personal information from the victim, or both. Losing money is what many people fear the most, but giving up sensitive information is far worse.

Given enough personal information, scammers can steal your cryptocurrencies (especially if you keep your assets on an exchange) or take out loans in your name. Full-on identity theft is on the cards, too. Giving Telegram scammers access to your sensitive information is far worse than just giving them money.

✅ Take action: Don’t let scammers get hold of your personal information.

Learn how to decrease spam email, texts and robocalls:

If you can, always report spam and take some time to remove your data from data brokers. Need help with data broker removal?

How to spot Telegram scams in the wild

The dozen scams outlined below represent a mixed bag of tactics and goals, but most will be categorized by many of the following. 

A sense of urgency

If you’re being pressured to act quickly, either through the promise of a time-limited opportunity or the threat of something going wrong if you don’t, then chances are you’re dealing with a Telegram scam. This is a common tactic used in many different scams, not just those on Telegram.

Companies conducting business on Telegram

Even though some companies do use Telegram and even Telegram bots as part of their communication strategies, you should always be suspicious of anyone or anything that reaches out to you on Telegram and claims to represent a reputable company.

Offers too good to be true

Telegram is no different than any other online platform or corner of the world: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Investment opportunities, free prizes, cheap goods—have your guard up and be skeptical when you come across any of these.

Tech support via Telegram

It’s easy to be swayed by relief, impatience, and gratitude when a tech support worker or customer service representative offers to help just as you were describing a problem you’re having. This could be a bot or a live scammer impersonating legitimate tech support.

Encouragement to move the conversation away from Telegram

Scammers will often entice or pressure you to move to another platform or website, somewhere where they can more easily gain access to your sensitive information or get malware onto your device. Be wary of people asking to continue the conversation somewhere else.

Pretty much anything involving cryptocurrencies

Scammers flock to the world of crypto in general, and Telegram is certainly no exception. It’s safest to assume that every scheme involving cryptocurrencies is a scam until you can confirm that it’s not. You’ll find some of the more common ones below.

Things that just look off

Many Telegram scams involve scammers or their bots impersonating other Telegram users, admins, or customer support staff. Telegram is plagued by fake job listings, fake classified ads, and fake groups. If something seems off to you, like a misspelled word or odd-looking logo, then consider it a red flag.

The Dirty Dozen of Telegram scams and how they work

Fake Telegram groups and channels

You think you’re joining a recommended or reputable group or channel, but it’s actually a fake version of that group or channel. Some of these fake Telegram groups are incredibly intricate copies of the original group, from similar-looking profiles and pinned messages to similarly named admins.

Many of these channels are set to “broadcast only,” giving only the admins the right to post messages. They typically use this self-given privilege to promote whatever scam or scams they’re running, often involving crypto tokens.

Not satisfied with simply broadcasting their scams, these admins will also reach out to you, phishing for personal details, banking information, or access to your Telegram account.

Telegram scams: FakeGroups_1
Telegram scams: FakeGroups_2

What to do if you come across a fake group or channel on Telegram:

  • Report and then leave the group or channel.
  • Change your settings to stop other users from adding you to groups and channels without your permission (see below for instructions).

Telegram bots used in phishing campaigns

Bots aren’t unique to Telegram, but they are particularly prevalent on the Telegram app. A Telegram bot is a piece of software that can interact with users, including interpreting responses through natural language processing. Bots are often used in phishing attacks on Telegram, including attacks that reach beyond the platform.

Bots with names like “Yahooze OTP,” “Otp[.]agency,” “SMS Buster,” and “SMSRanger” are used to call potential victims and get credentials like 2FA (two-factor authentication), OTP (one-time password), PIN (personal identification number), and CVV (card verification value) codes.

A scammer getting a bot to call you like this almost certainly already has all the other information they need to get into your account, usually a bank account. Once they get the missing verification code, they wire funds to themselves or purchase gift cards or other stand-ins for currency.

Telegram scams: PhishingBots_1
Telegram scams: PhishingBots_2
Telegram scams: PhishingBots_3

How to protect yourself against this kind of phishing attack:

  • Never give out 2FA, OTP, PIN, or CVV codes over the phone or Telegram. These codes are for your eyes only, anyone asking for them is guaranteed to be a scammer.
  • Assume every cold call and unsolicited message you receive is a phishing attempt.
  • If you receive a message or call like this, hang up or ignore it.

Tech support scams

You’re chatting away in a Telegram group, describing a problem you’re having with a device or piece of software. Suddenly, a member of the tech support staff for that company enters the chat and offers to help you troubleshoot. The thing is that this staff member is either a scammer or the bot of a scammer.

In the course of “helping you” with your technical issues, this bot or scammer will fish around for information that could grant access to your financial accounts, crypto wallets, or worse. They’ll pass you links to phishing sites and generally pump you for information.

Telegram scams: TechSupport_1
Telegram scams: TechSupport_2
Telegram scams: TechSupport_3

What to do when someone reaches out to you on Telegram to offer technical support:

  • Know that the vast majority of companies do not offer technical support via Telegram or any other third-party platform, so if someone approaches you on Telegram, assume it’s a scam.
  • if you need technical support, contact the company directly via its website or app or over the phone (get its number from a trustworthy source).
  • Don’t give out personal information to anyone you didn’t reach out to and who couldn’t possibly need that information for any legitimate purpose.
  • Never give your crypto wallet seed phrases or private keys to anyone, under any circumstances. Anyone with either one of these has full control over your wallet.

Crypto guru scams

Unfortunately, cryptocurrencies and scams all too often go hand-in-hand. There are many Telegram scams that begin with someone claiming they have an amazing, sounds-too-good-to-be-true (because it is) crypto investment opportunity, crypto-trading system, or some kind of unique insider information.

Some of these scammers will even hawk their own exchange. As the FTX fiasco has shown, even the largest crypto exchanges are extremely risky, let alone something you’ve never heard of that someone is pushing on Telegram.

Engaging with these self-proclaimed gurus puts you at risk of losing control over your accounts and wallets, losing crypto tokens, and being out of pocket in terms of real money.

Telegram scams: CryptoGurus_1
Telegram scams: CryptoGurus_2
Telegram scams: CryptoGurus_3

What to do if you come across a crypto “expert” with a get rich quick scheme:

  • Ask yourself why someone with the ability to make this kind of money would hang around on the Telegram app trying to share that ability with others.
  • Don’t interact with them in any way, even a nibble at the bait tells scammers you’re a good mark for further spam and other targeted scams.
  • Report their message if they approach you directly, report their Telegram channel if they have one.

Fake crypto channels (“signal groups”)

Another common crypto scam that’s particularly well-suited to Telegram is something called a “pump and dump.” This form of price manipulation involves hyping up an asset to raise its market value (“pumping”) and then selling off large amounts of the asset at this inflated price (“dumping”).

The scammers make off with a tidy profit while leaving everyone who bought into the hype with crypto that’s suddenly worth a lot less than they paid for it. Elon Musk is alleged to have pumped and dumped Dogecoin tokens in this way. What makes Telegram unique among other popular platforms is the sheer number of these pump and dump schemes.

Telegram channels are often set up for the sole purpose of creating buzz around otherwise worthless tokens to drive up their price. Often calling themselves “signal groups,” they dress up self-fulfilling prophecies as market predictions. For this reason, their historical performance may appear to be quite good.

Telegram scams: CryptoChannels_1

What to do when you come across a Telegram group offering you once-in-a-lifetime crypto investment advice:

  • Don’t rush in. These scams work on a mix of FOMO (fear of missing out) and time pressure. Investing your hard-earned money is a big decision even if the amount is small, and all investments carry risks.
  • Be skeptical. If these people really do have insider knowledge, then what interest do they have in sharing it so publicly?
  • Think more than twice before paying for a VIP membership to one of these groups. Do background checks on both the group and the token of the moment that they’re pushing.
  • Report the group or channel if you suspect it’s a scam.

Fake crypto giveaways

You’ve won some crypto, click here to claim! Too obvious? What about: cryptocurrency exchange Binance is giving away 0.5 BTC, all you have to do is send them 0.1 BTC so that they can have your address?

Seasoned blockchain enthusiasts will see the absurdity of all this. Why not just send them your receiving address? Why on Earth would Binance give crypto away, especially in such large amounts and without requiring you to set up an account?

This scam works by targeting naive Telegram users with counterfeit Binance profiles. It puts potential victims under time pressure (the amount of BTC or whatever is, of course, always limited). Sending any amount of cryptocurrency “to give somebody your address” doesn’t make any sense—that’s not how most blockchain addresses work.

These kinds of scams are fairly obvious when it comes to companies like Amazon or Apple. They wouldn’t give things away to random people in the first place, and if they did, they wouldn’t require you to pay shipping or other fees. Crypto is a world so poorly understood by most people that they assume the usual rules might not apply.

Telegram scams: CryptoGiveaways_1
Telegram scams: CryptoGiveaways_2

What to do when presented with an apparent crypto giveaway:

  • Don’t rush in. If Binance is running the giveaway, then visit their website and look for information on the giveaway there. Can’t find any? Then it’s definitely a scam.
  • Ask yourself if it seems likely that a company would give things away without wanting anything in return. A (very) small bonus for signing up rings true, large, random gifts don’t.
  • If the FOMO is too strong, anonymously create a wallet to which you hold the keys and send them a receiving address.

Telegram admin imposters

Telegram group admins hold positions of trust, often earned through a history of demonstrated helpfulness and responsibility. Scammers use this to their advantage by impersonating admins to push any number of scams onto unsuspecting users or lure them to another platform or website to perform phishing attacks.

An admin profile can’t be cloned exactly—the fact that Telegram usernames are unique make this impossible—but a determined scammer can make a very convincing lookalike profile.

The telltale sign that someone might not be who they claim is that they respond privately to a question you asked publicly. If they did respond publicly, they’d likely be shouted down by multiple members of the group, if not outed by the real admin.

Telegram scams: AdminImposters_1
Telegram scams: AdminImposters_2

Here’s what you can do if you’re approached by someone you suspect of impersonating an admin:

  • Search the group for their posts. If there’s nothing there, you’re definitely dealing with an impersonator—real admins have long histories of regular posts.
  • Find a real administrator and ask them if the account is legit (send a screenshot).
  • If you’re pretty certain the admin account that messaged you is fake, report it to a real admin and Telegram.

Fake Classified Ads

Telegram is often used for buying and selling used goods. Ending up with a low-quality item or one in worse condition than described is the least of your worries here. The only safe way to complete a sale over Telegram is to meet the seller in person, inspect the item, and pay in cash.

Scammers use a number of different tactics, from putting up fake classified ads and using bots to engage potential buyers to phish for sensitive information to redirecting interested users to phishing sites to complete the transaction.

Telegram scams: FakeClassifieds_1

How to handle classified ads on Telegram:

  • Be suspicious of unusually good deals.
  • If a seller insists on making the sale on Telegram, then do so in person, in a public place, and using cash.
  • If a seller redirects you to a listing on a platform like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace, then go to that website directly and search for the item there, don’t follow any links.

Fake Job Listings

Like WhatsApp, Telegram is the preferred contact method in many parts of the world, especially when communicating internationally. It’s possible that a potential employer or recruiter will make themselves available to a jobseeker on Telegram, but legitimate recruitment processes, let alone hiring processes, are unlikely to take place on the chat app.

Telegram scams: FakeJobs_1
Telegram scams: FakeJobs_2
Telegram scams: FakeJobs_3

What to do if you’re approached by someone claiming to be a recruiter:

  • Verify the opening and the recruiter with the company they claim to represent. Do this by going to the company’s website and getting contact details from there.
  • Check that the company itself is a legitimate business. There’s nothing stopping scammers from creating a website for a fake company for you to find.
  • Don’t give recruiters any information that isn’t already publicly available. Information like your Social Security number isn’t required until the point at which you sign a contract with a hiring manager, not a recruiter.

Friend in need scams

A classic scam that plagues all communication platforms, from email to Telegram, is the “friend in need” scam. Scammers do background research on you and your friends and family. Data brokers, especially people search sites, and social media platforms make this easy.

They then impersonate someone close to you and pretend to be in urgent need of money. They might claim to need the money to make bail, pay medical expenses, hire a tow-truck, or any number of other purposes—whatever they think will work on you.

What to do when confronted with a friend or family member in need of help on Telegram:

  • Don’t reply to the message. Instead, call the alleged sender and speak to them. If they don’t pick up, try their social media profiles and other chat platforms that they’ve used with you before.
  • If the real person confirms that they didn’t contact you on Telegram, then report the impersonator on the platform.

Romance scams

Romance scams are not new and are certainly not exclusive to Telegram. They’re particularly cruel, playing not on greed or overconfidence but on loneliness and a need for connection. The scam involves a scammer building up a fake, usually romantic, relationship with their mark.

Once they’ve developed some trust and maybe even got their mark to fall in love with them, the scammer will start to ask for money under various pretexts. This is where the scam overlaps with a “friend in need” scam.

Here’s how to avoid falling victim to a romance scam on Telegram:

  • Be suspicious of anyone randomly reaching out to you on Telegram. Romance scammers are in a hurry to find their next victim and will often reach out on a thin pretext.
  • Be wary of people who go straight to direct messaging in a group chat. Scammers will avoid chatting publicly so that everyone else in the chat doesn’t pick up on their behavior patterns.
  • Don’t reveal personal information when messaging with people you don’t know in real life. This includes revealing your real name, home address, workplace or school, and family members’ details.
  • If you find yourself chatting with someone more and more often, on topics that are becoming more intimate, then do some background research on them. Look them up on social media profiles, search their phone number online, and reverse image search any photos they send you.
  • Insist on a video call. Romance scammers will always have an excuse for why they can’t meet in person or turn on their camera. Meeting in person won’t always be an option, but anyone who’s on Telegram has or can easily get access to a webcam.
  • Never send money to anyone who’s been chatting you up on Telegram, no matter how much they tug at your heartstrings or play on your infatuation—this is the endgame of all romance scams.

Counterfeit goods

Another thing that’s not exclusive to Telegram: well-known products at prices that are too good to be true. If not an outright fake classified ad, the goods may well turn out to be counterfeit. Illegal in many places, counterfeit goods tend to be of very low quality and come without a warranty of any kind.

How to tell if an item on offer on Telegram is counterfeit:

  • Look at the seller’s post history. If they’ve sold the same or similar items in the past, they’re likely counterfeit.
  • Ask questions. Why are they selling this item? When and where did they get it? Why is the price so low? Why is the item unused? “It’s an unwanted gift” is an easy answer, dig deeper.
  • When in doubt, walk away. Good deals do come along, but if anything seems off about this one, it’s probably a scam. Someone selling a legitimate item will be an open book, and will probably have receipts.

How to stay safe on Telegram

Adopting some simple habits can mean that you stay safe on Telegram without constantly wondering “is this a scam?”. The price of that peace of mind is sticking to them without exception, though.

Never give up personal information

Some Telegram scammers are after your money, but most will target your personal information. It’s much easier to get and can be worth considerably more in the long run. Never reveal details like your real name, location, age or date of birth, or Social Security number.

One major problem with Telegram (and alternatives like Signal) is that your mobile number is associated with your account. Use a dedicated or burner number to register your Telegram account or switch to Matrix or Session, neither of which require a phone number.

Never pay in gift cards

Scammers love gift cards since they can be used like currency and are much less traceable than bank, Western Union, or Bitcoin transfers. If someone asks you to buy gift cards as a form of payment or transfer method, then you can be sure they’re scamming you.

Never click on links

Even if a link looks legitimate, it can send you to a phishing site or trigger the download or execution of malicious code on your device. If someone sends you a link to, for example eBay or Facebook, then go directly to the site and search from there. Can’t find it? The link was probably bogus.

There’s a misconception floating around about the safety of Secure HTTP (HTTPS) sites. Information passed to sites that start with http://… can be intercepted by third parties, but that doesn’t mean that sites starting with https://… are safe, especially if the site owner isn’t trustworthy.

Trust or not, always verify

Don’t take anything at face value. If somebody claims to be in your area, search their phone number online—it might come up registered under a different name, in a different area, or it may have already been reported as suspicious by others.

Check posting histories, new accounts or accounts with few or no public posts in a group are always suspect. If someone sends you a photo, perform a reverse image search on it, it might have been taken from a public source.

Know that phone numbers can be spoofed

Mobile phone numbers can be spoofed, so you can never be sure that a particular number is real. Sometimes searching a phone number online can bring up information that it comes from a spoofing app. The rule for phone numbers is that if it looks off, then consider it a red flag, but don’t put stock in a number looking OK—this, unfortunately, doesn’t mean anything.

Prevent random people from adding you to groups and channels

Many of the scams above begin with you “ending up” in a lookalike or otherwise sketchy group or channel. The way this most often happens is that you get added without your knowledge or consent. Here’s how to make it so that doesn’t happen:

  • Open Telegram and click or tap on the sandwich menu (three bars) in the top left corner.
  • Go into “settings” and then “privacy and security.”
  • Select “groups & channels.”
  • Under “group invite settings” change “who can add me to groups and channels” from “everyone” to “my contacts.”
  • Tap “save” and you’re done.

What to do if you come across one of these Telegram scams

Generally, Telegram will only intervene if public material is found to be illegal. “Public,” here, means things like sticker sets, bots, and channels. Conversations and groups are private and their contents are encrypted, so Telegram can’t and won’t block or remove material there. There’s still a lot you can do on the platform.

Report a user

To report a user simply click or tap on the “report spam” button in a chat. If the reported message is found to contain spam, then the offending user will have their account “limited.” This means that they will only be able to message people who already have them in their contacts, taking away their ability to spam strangers.

If a user is causing problems in a group, you can report them to the group’s administrators. These admins may then ban the user from the group and can also report them for sending spam if that’s what they’ve been doing.

Report a channel

Channels, like bots and sticker sets, are public on Telegram. Telegram is able to take action against channels that imitate legitimate, popular channels or that exist solely to perpetrate scams or other illegal activity. Here’s how you can report a channel to the abuse team:

  • On Android: open the channel, tap on the three dots in the top right corner, then tap “report.”
  • On iOS: open the channel, tap on the picture in the top right corner to open the profile, then tap “report.”
  • On Telegram Desktop: open the channel profile and click on “report.”
  • You can also email the Telegram abuse team at Include a link to or @username associated with the content you’re reporting.

What to do if you fell victim to a Telegram scam

The way encrypted messaging apps have been taken up by the public worldwide has made them a kind of brave new world. Getting caught up in a scam in these early days of such technology is nothing to be ashamed of. Here’s what you can do after the fact:

Gather evidence

Take screenshots of any messages and profiles associated with the scam and save them in a safe place. Note down the times and dates of important events, like when your first contact took place, when you visited any phishing sites, and when you transferred funds, cryptocurrencies, or tokens. 

Report the scam

Reporting a scam makes life that much more difficult for the scammers, both bringing them to the authorities’ attention and warning their potential victims. A paper trail could also help you if you end up pursuing legal action or attempting to recover lost funds.

Report the user or channel within the Telegram app. Follow the instructions above to get the user banned, their account limited, or the channel shut down.

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Do this if the scam you encountered involved a registered company. Use the BBB’s complaint form.

Report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC’s special website to report what happened. The FTC uses such reports to bring cases against those responsible. 

Contact your bank

If you transferred funds or gave your debit or credit card details to a Telegram scammer, contact your bank, credit union, or credit card company and explain what happened. They’ll advise you on what to do next and can freeze your account or issue new cards. In some cases, you may also be able to recover lost funds.

If you sent Bitcoin or another crypto token as payment, then your chances of recovering those funds are slim to none, unfortunately. You should definitely change your wallet passwords if you feel they may have been compromised. Immediately transfer your tokens to a fresh wallet if your seed phrase or private keys were compromised.

Begin the identity recovery process

Many of the scams above have the potential to keep victims on the hook long enough to get enough sensitive information to make identity theft a real threat. If you gave up your Social Security number or access to your computer, then this could include you.

Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft portal to start the damage control and the identity recovery process.

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Pyramid schemes

Pyramid schemes, similar to Ponzi schemes, have been around since long before the internet. They rely on a steady stream of new victims to generate profits for those at the top of the pyramid or near the center of the “blessing loom.” There are many such scams on Cash App and they go by many different names.

The “Cash Circle,” “Money Circle,” “Blessing Loom,” “Money Board,” “Mandala Game,”, “Blessing Circle,” “Giving Circle,” “Infinity Loom,” and “Fractal Mandala” are all different names for the same scam. These scammers most often promise to turn $100 into $800, but they might vary the amounts to avoid detection.

Some pyramid schemes work for those lucky or ruthless enough to end up at the top of the pyramid (at the expense of all the other participants), but most pyramid schemes on Cash App defraud everyone who takes part. In either case, pyramid schemes are illegal in the US, UK, and many other parts of the world.

chain letter pyramid scheme
Pyramid scheme structure 2

These scams are very similar to the cash “flipping” scam above, and you should treat them accordingly:

  • Report the scammers in the Cash App app if they’ve already given you their Cash App name, phone number, email address, or $cashtag. Scroll down for detailed instructions on how to do this.
  • Decline any payment requests you receive from them.
  • Block them if they sent you a payment request.
  • If they approached you on social media or a chat app, report them there.
  • Use a personal data removal service like Incogni if they sent you an SMS or email—this is an indicator that your information is available to scammers.

Unsolicited Cash App debit cards

This is one of those Cash App scams that seems harmless at first glance but then turns out to be particularly scary when you dig deeper. The scam begins with you receiving a Cash App debit card in the mail. The card arrives at your home address and is in your name, but not at your request.

The first layer of scary is revealed when you activate and start using this card. As soon as you put a significant amount of money on the card, it disappears. This is because the scammer set up a Cash App account in your name and requested the card on your behalf. They have access to this account and any funds you add to it.

The really concerning thing is that this scammer has enough of your most sensitive information to set up an account in your name. This can include things like your Social Security number. Scammers can get their hands on information like this in dark web marketplaces, but also from data brokers operating on the clear web.

debit cards cash app scams

Ignoring the debit card you received in the mail addresses only the tip of the iceberg, here’s what to do instead:

  • Install the Cash App app if you’re not already a customer (do not scan the QR code that came with the scam debit card) and use it to contact customer support.
  • Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft portal to learn what next steps you can and should take. Don’t panic, this doesn’t mean that your identity has been stolen.
  • Consider using a personal data removal service like Incogni to stop data brokers sharing and selling your sensitive information online.
  • Secure each of your online accounts with a strong and unique password (i.e. a different one for each account)—a password manager like Bitwarden will help you with this.

Clearance fee scams

A clearance fee scam involves you having to pay a transfer or clearance fee for someone to unlock a much larger transfer. The scammer then promises to give you a cut of this larger transaction. This scam goes all the way back to the classing Nigerian 419 scams that involve alleged princes and government officials trying to recover their fortunes.

The backstory and amounts of money will vary, but the core of the scam is the same. Never send anyone a Cash App payment on the promise of receiving more money down the line. No matter how complicated or compelling their story is, it’s definitely a scam and you won’t see your money again.

Clearance Fee - cash app scam sample 1
Clearance Fee - cash app scam sample 2
Clearance Fee - cash app scam sample 3

What to do when someone approaches you with a clearance free scam:

  • Don’t respond to the scammers in any way—you’ll just end up with more scams in your inbox or DMs.
  • Report the scammers in the Cash App app if they’ve already given you their Cash App name, phone number, email address, or $cashtag. Scroll down for detailed instructions on how to do this.
  • Decline any payment requests you receive from them.
  • Block them if they sent you a payment request.
  • If they approached you on social media or a chat app, report them there.
  • Use a personal data removal service like Incogni if they sent you an SMS or email—this is an indicator that your information is available to scammers.

Fake #CashAppFridays messages

This scam can be very effective if only because it plays on real giveaways run by Cash App. The “Super Cash App Friday,” “Cash App Fridays,” and “Fortune4Days” promotions are or have at different times been real promotions.

Cash App, especially through its official Twitter account (, will often allow Cash App customers to win cash prizes by commenting on a particular post and including their $cashtag. The problem is that scammers can see who has entered these giveaways.

All they need to do is set up fake Cash App accounts on either Twitter or Instagram and contact those who entered telling them they’ve won. The fact the blue Twitter checkmark has been recently made worthless makes confirming that you’re dealing with a real, verified Cash App account more of a hassle.

At this point the scammers move to a phishing attack or clearance fee scam, asking you for login credentials or other personal information or requesting that you send a “test transaction” of some kind. They may even go for gold and ask you to download software that gives them remote access to your device.

Cash app fridays - sample scam 1
Cash app fridays - sample scam 2

Here’s what you should do and keep in mind if you receive a direct message like this:

  • Do not respond to the message, that already gives scammers a lot of useful information.
  • Check that it’s from a verified Cash App account, remember that anyone can buy a blue checkmark on Twitter.
  • Know that Cash App would never ask you to make a purchase, send them money, or provide any login information of any kind—they already have your $cashtag and that’s all they need.
  • Report the user who contacted you on whatever social media platform they used to do so.

Cash App phishing and smishing attacks

As you can already see, your information can be far more valuable to cybercriminals than your Cash App balance. Phishing scams are one way they can get that information. Phishing often involves impersonating members of the Cash App team using fake accounts. The goal is to get you to give up sensitive information.

A traditional phishing attack happens over email, a smishing attack is the same thing but over SMS or through a direct message. These scams might come in the form of fake security alerts, cranking up the sense of urgency to get you to click on the links included in the message.

Clicking on a fake Cash App link redirects unsuspecting users to any number of fake websites. Once there, you’ll be prompted to enter your login details, 2FA codes, your PIN, or some other personal information. Some of these links can even lead to downloading malicious code onto your device.

Cash app smishing / phishing scam sample 1
Cash app smishing / phishing scam sample 2

Here’s how to deal phishing attempts involving Cash App:

  • Don’t click on any attachments or links in the phishing message.
  • Don’t respond to the sender in any way, real Cash App emails are “no reply” anyway.
  • Mark the email or direct message as a phishing attempt (if you have such an option, otherwise mark it as spam).
  • If you’re worried that a fake security alert might be real after all, check on your Cash App app: if there’s nothing there, then you know the message was fake.

Cash App vishing attacks

Vishing is simply phishing over a voice call. The end goal is the same: to gain access to your personal information by having you give it up or by gaining control over your device. Vishing attacks can be much more difficult to spot and respond to in time, though.

There’s already a lot of time-pressure built into the interaction from the start, since you’ve got a busy “Cash App representative” right there on the line. Add to that any story they tell you about suspicious activity on your account and the sense of urgency can cloud almost anyone’s judgment.

Here’s how to deal with vishing attacks involving Cash App:

  • Know that someone who’s really representing Cash App would never ask you for your PIN or sign-in code. They also would never need you to perform any kind of purchase or transfer.
  • A real Cash App representative might need to confirm your identity, but remember: they already have all your details in front of them, so they might ask for the last 3–4 digits of your bank account or card number, but never the whole thing.
  • The best thing to do is to simply hang up and check your Cash App app for any notifications and suspicious activity.
  • If something does look off, contact the Cash App team via the app—this is Cash App’s preferred method and is the safest.

Fake Bitcoin investments

Scammers flock to the world of crypto like moths to a flame. The fact that Cash App allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin means that more than one common Cash App scam involves the cryptocurrency. The golden rule here is that if it seems too good to be true, then it almost certainly is.

There’s nothing magical about Bitcoin that can suddenly make the various get-rich-quick or quadruple-your-money scams described here suddenly plausible. Clearance fee scams and variations on “cash flipping” and “money circle” scams can all be found with an added Bitcoin twist.

cash app scam - fake btc, bitcoin investment. Sample scam 1
cash app scam - fake btc, bitcoin investment. Sample scam 2

Here are some things to look out for when dealing with Bitcoin scams in particular:

  • Anyone with access to your Cash App account or Bitcoin wallet has access to, and full control over, your Bitcoin: never give out login credentials to anyone.
  • Bitcoin, although very easily traced, doesn’t include any mechanisms for getting your BTC back or stopping a transaction. Generally, once a scammer has your BTC, there’s no way to recover it.
  • If you keep your Bitcoin in a noncustodial wallet, protect your private keys and seed phrase above all else. Anyone with knowledge of either already owns all of your BTC.

Friend in need scams

So-called friend in need scams are all too common across all communication channels. Unfortunately, they work quite well on money transfer apps like Cash App, too. The scammer imitates a friend or relative of yours and asks you to urgently transfer money via Cash App.

They might claim to have car trouble, sudden medical expenses, legal problems or any number of other sudden and unexpected expenses. We all want to help those we love and the sense of urgency these payment requests create can leave our knee-jerk reaction as the last one before tapping send.

cash app scams - fake friend sample scam 1
cash app scams - fake friend sample scam 2

What to do when you receive a payment request or message from a “friend in need:”

  • Check the requester’s profile: do the $cashtag, email, phone number, and name look right?
  • Call the alleged requester, using the contact details you already had before receiving the payment request.
  • Decline the payment request if the Cash App requester’s profile looks off in any way or if the real person doesn’t know anything about the payment request or isn’t available.
  • Once you’ve confirmed that the payment request was fraudulent, block the sender.

Scams targeting sellers

Selling something online (or off, for that matter), necessarily means having to put yourself out there. This is a point at which scammers can make their move. One of the approaches they take is to pretend to be interested in whatever you’re selling. They then insist that you accept payment via Cash App.

This is a huge red flag: Cash App payments don’t include the kinds of buyer protections that things like credit card payments do. If you agree to accept money via Cash App, the scammer can do a number of things, including simply claiming that they’ve already paid and demanding the goods or a refund.

Here’s how to avoid common Cash App scams when selling something online:

  • Don’t offer or agree to accept a Cash App payment—that’s not what the app is designed for.
  • If someone claims to have already sent you money on the app, open it and check your Cash App transactions—ignore fake Cash App verification emails and screenshots.
  • Use a platform and payment method that offers sellers at least some measure of protection, or cash in person.

Scams targeting buyers

Buyers aren’t safe, either. Scammers put classified ads up on whatever platforms will have them and wait for potential buyers to show interest. Once a buyer is on the hook, the scammer pressures them to use Cash App to make their payment.

Once payment is made using the app, the seller will most likely disappear, ghost the buyer, or claim they never received the funds. With no buyer protection to fall back on, the buyer is left out of pocket with no clear path forward to recovering their losses.

cash app scams targeting buyers

How to stay safe from Cash App scams when buying something online:

  • Don’t accept payment via Cash App—it’s not designed for online purchases.
  • If someone refuses to accept a payment method that offers buyer protection or cash in person, then chances are good that they’re trying to scam you.

Fake Cash App balances and confirmations

More a tactic than a standalone scam, fake Cash App verification emails and transaction screenshots are effective ways for scammers to convince their victims that a payment has or hasn’t been made.

For example, you’re selling something online and a scammer claims to have sent you payment on Cash App. They’re happy to forward you the confirmation email they got or a screenshot of their app, showing the successful transaction into your account.

Or you’re trying to buy something and the seller keeps denying that your Cash App payment has gone through. They have screenshots of their transaction history covering the time frame during which you know made the payment.

cash app balance confirmation scam sample

What to do if someone sends or shows you suspect Cash App transactions:

  • Open your app and check there: whatever it says in your transaction history is what you should go with.
  • If someone disputes your transaction history, don’t send them screenshots of your phone’s screen—they could contain sensitive information that you don’t want to share.

Scams targeting renters

Some scammers will put properties up for rent and insist on payment via Cash App. They then pretend not to have received the payment (like in the scams targeting buyers, above), or worse. It often turns out that the scammers were never the owners of the property in question to begin with.

cash app scam targeting  renters

How to avoid falling for a Cash App scam when looking to rent housing:

  • Don’t agree to make any payments (deposit, rent, bond, etc.) via Cash App.
  • If you need to transfer money, do so via a platform that offers renter’s protection.

Deposit scams targeting shoppers

Yet another variation on the theme of Cash App scammers targeting buyers, deposit scams involve the scammers receiving deposits or down payments for goods and animals that are claimed to be on the way. These goods and animals (often puppies) most often don’t exist, and the seller disappears with the deposit or refuses to give it back.

How to avoid falling victim to a deposit or down payment scam:

  • Don’t agree to make any such payments via Cash App.
  • Before you transfer money by any means, make sure the alleged seller is contractually obliged to then sell you the object of the sale or return your deposit.

Fake COVID-19 programs

As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic fades into the past for most of the world, scammers are still finding ways to capitalize on it. They most often create fake COVID-19 relief and stimulus programs, duping victims into making Cash App payments in order to receive the promised support.

The Federal Trade Commission has logged over 800,000 COVID-19 and stimulus fraud reports totaling almost $1,000,000,000 in losses. Over 200,000 of these reports mention identity theft—scammers will often ask for sensitive information, including medical information, while committing these frauds.

cash app covid scam sample

How to avoid falling for a fake COVID-19 program:

  • Know that no government relief package or official program will require you to make a payment using Cash App—anyone claiming this is trying to scam you.
  • Do not engage with anyone who contacts you claiming to represent one of these programs.
  • Do not reveal any personal or financial information, not to mention medical information, to such people—medical identity theft is a real danger here.

Survey scams with Cash App prizes

A classic online scam that’s been around since at least the ‘90s, scammers claim to give you the chance to win money just by completing a survey. One modern twist is the promise of Cash App transfers as payment for completing the surveys or as prizes for winning draws entered by completing them.

Like other fake Cash App giveaway scams, the prizes and rewards here are firmly in the “too good to be true” pile. The point of these scams is to gather as much of your personal and financial information as possible. Dangling the promise of a Cash App payment encourages you to give up financial information especially.

cash app survey scam sample

How to protect yourself from fake Cash App survey scams:

  • Be suspicious of giveaways, sweepstakes, and surveys being peddled via random text messages and on social media platforms. If you’re told a survey comes from Cash App itself, then go straight to Cash App’s website and look for information there.
  • Never give out personal or financial information. Even if you’re convinced someone is going to send you money (they’re not), then all they need is your $cashtag.

Gift card scams

Scammers with stolen credit card details flock to payment apps like Cash App. The problem with stolen credit cards is that any payments the thief tries to make are likely to be disputed by the owner and/or credit card company. Cash App’s easy transfers give them a way to get around this.

Gift card scams involve the scammer offering you a Cash App payment in exchange for gift cards. This can seem like a good deal since the scammer is offering much more than the nominal value of the gift cards they’re asking for.

cash app gift card scam sample 1
cash app gift card scam sample 2
cash app gift card scam sample 3

How to avoid falling for gift card scams:

  • Never use gift cards for anything other than what they’re intended for: as gifts for people you know.
  • Be extremely suspicious of anyone offering you free money.
  • Report the scammer to whatever platform they approached you on or block their number if they texted you.

Having your Cash App account hacked

Falling for a phishing scam or having poor security practices (like not using two-factor authentication) can result in your Cash App account and possibly even your linked bank account being hacked.

Although not a scam in and of itself, getting hacked often follows hot on the heels of a phishing scam and your account, once hacked, can be used to perpetrate further scams against you.

How to protect your account against hackers:

  • Use a strong and unique password to secure your account. A password manager like Bitwarden is invaluable in making sure you don’t reuse passwords between accounts.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for your Cash App account.
  • Never share details like your PIN or sign-in code with anyone—Cash App staff will never ask for this information.
  • If you see any suspicious activity on your account, change your PIN and password and contact customer support via the app.

How to safely use Cash App

The best way to protect yourself from all the Cash App scammers out there is to stick to using Cash App the way it was intended. Here’s how you can do that, and some other tips on how to stay safe on Cash App:

Only use Cash App to send money to people you know

This is the use case Cash App recommends: transferring money between people who know and trust each other. Beyond that, its feature set has expanded to include Bitcoin and stock trading. Both of these require due diligence on users’ parts and should be avoided by those who don’t know exactly what they’re doing.

Cash App should not be used as a payment method for buying or selling goods or services. It lacks the buyer protection features of credit cards, PayPal, or payments made through platforms like Amazon.

Never give up personal information

You’ve seen how eager Cash App scammers are to get your personal information. They often imitate Cash App employees and use phishing sites that look like Cash App support forms. Real Cash App employees may need to confirm your identity by asking for your name, phone number, email, or the last 3-4 digits of your bank account or card.

Cash App employees collect these account details using encrypted forms through Sprinklr and SendSafely. They will never ask you for your sign-in code, Cash App PIN, full bank account information, or other sensitive information. Never give up information like this to anyone.

Also, never grant anyone remote access to your devices, download any additional applications, or send any “test” payments—Cash App employees will never ask you to do any of these things.

Never exchange gift cards for Cash App transfers

Another thing that Cash App scammers will often ask for is gift cards. Scammers of all stripes often use gift cards in lieu of cash because they’re less traceable than bank, Western Union, or Bitcoin transfers. A Cash App support worker will never ask you to purchase or send gift cards.

Don’t trust payment confirmations from outside the Cash App app

Many of the Cash App scams above involve fake Cash App receipts or payment confirmations. Don’t trust any transaction confirmations that don’t show up on your Cash App account.

The “accidental” payment scam will show up on your Cash App app, but that money can later disappear from your account all the same—see our advice above on how to deal with this particular scam.

How to report a Cash App user and contact Cash App support

If you’re approached by a suspected scammer and know their name, $cashtag, phone number, or email, then you can report them from within the app. You can also contact Cash App support if you have any issues and are unsure how to proceed or if someone has contacted you claiming to be from Cash App support.

Report a scammer’s account

To report a scammer’s account on Cash App:

  • Open the Cash App app and tap on their customer avatar to view their profile or search for their profile by entering their name, $cashtag, phone number, or email.
  • Scroll to the bottom of their profile and tap on “report.” 
  • Choose the appropriate option and follow the on-screen instructions.

Alternatively, follow the instructions below to contact the Cash Support team.

Contact Cash App customer support

Using the app:

  • Tap on the profile icon on the Cash App home screen.
  • Select “support.”
  • Tap on Start a Chat and send a message


  • Navigate to and choose the appropriate options from there.

Over the phone:

  • If you’re over 18 years old and have gone through the in-app verification process, you’re eligible to receive phone support. Simply call the Cash Support team at 1 (800) 969-1940.

Social media:

Double check you’re entering the correct username or handle when contacting Cash App customer support via their social media accounts—scammers often set up lookalike accounts.

  • Instagram: @CashApp
  • Twitter: @CashApp @CashSupport
  • TikTok: @CashApp
  • Twitch:
  • Reddit: u/CashAppAndi
  • Facebook: SquareCash

Via mail:

Cash App

1455 Market Street Suite 600

San Francisco, CA 94103

What to do if you fell victim to a Cash App scam

Falling for a Cash App scam isn’t the end of the world, but it’s also not something you can just sweep under the rug and hope for the best. Here’s what you can do to limit the damage and start the recovery process if need be:

Lock down your accounts

Change your Cash App PIN and any other login credentials that may have been compromised. This includes anything you gave to the scammer and anything you typed in while on a suspected phishing site or anything you entered after clicking on any attachments or links from the scammer.

Report a scam payment

You can report a potentially fraudulent transaction through the Cash App app:

  • Tap on the profile icon in the top right corner.
  • Tap on “support.”
  • Select “report a payment issue.”
  • Select the payment and follow the on-screen instructions.

Gather evidence

Note down the times, dates, and channels on which the scammer contacted you as well as any other important events. Note down the URLs of any phishing sites you visited and any Bitcoin addresses or bank accounts you transferred funds to. Take screenshots of everything related to the scam.

Report the scam

Reporting a scam won’t recover your funds or bring charges against the scammer, but it can certainly bring the scam to the attention of the authorities and potential victims. The paper trail you generate by filing these reports can help you down the line should you choose to pursue legal action or attempt to have funds restored.

Report the scammers on any social media platforms or chat apps they used to contact you. Look up and follow the instructions for each platform. Scams like the ones described above violate the terms and conditions of pretty much every app and service out there.

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Use the BBB’s complaint form if the scam you encountered involved a registered company or someone impersonating a registered company.

Report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC’s dedicated website to report what happened. The FTC can’t follow up on your individual case, but it does use such reports to bring cases against those responsible. 

File a police report with your local police department. Do this especially if large sums of money are involved. Seek legal counsel if you’re unsure of what you can or should do.

Contact your bank

Contact your bank, credit union, or credit card company and explain what happened if you sent a scammer any funds or gave them your credit or debit account details or banking login credentials. They’ll advise you on what to do next and can issue new cards or freeze your account. You may also be able to recover lost funds.

Your chances of recovering Bitcoin are basically zero, unfortunately. Change your wallet passwords if they’ve been compromised. Immediately transfer your tokens to a fresh wallet if your seed phrase or private keys were compromised. If you don’t know what a seed phrase or private keys are, contact the custodian of your wallet.

Begin the identity recovery process

Once again, your personal data is often worth more to scammers than your money, or at least the money you already have on your Cash App account. Depending on the kind of personal information you gave to the scammers, you may be at risk of having your identity stolen.
The Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft portal is one of the best places to start the damage control and the identity recovery processes.

We are uncovering new scams daily, these are some of the most common scams:

Whatever you end up deciding, remain vigilant and be mindful about what personal information you share online.

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