MELROSE, Mass. - Online scams are just as old as the Internet itself.
Recently, however, scammers have been getting more and more creative, conjuring up ways to get money from unsuspecting people. A relatively new scam, according to police in Melrose, Massachusetts, uses the money transfer app Cash App to grant scammers access to a victim’s bank account.
One Melrose woman fell victim to it – and she’s not alone. Victims have been reporting scams via Cash App across the country.
“We’re coming up with a new trend,” said Melrose police Chief Michael Lyle. “Out of the blue, they asked her, ‘Did you purchase a computer through Amazon through Texas?’ [and] she said no. Then they said, ‘Oh, gosh, we have to transfer you to the fraud department,’ and that’s when they got their claws into her."
Chief Lyle said the victim, who is in her 60s, was instructed to download Cash App and link it to her bank account. She was told to share her password and account with the scammers.
Innocently, she did.
Almost immediately, the woman began receiving notifications popping up saying hundreds of dollars were being withdrawn from her account. The victim lost $1,000.
“She should have stopped immediately [and] went online [and] contacted Amazon immediately,” said Lyle.
Due to the holidays, Amazon orders are being placed every second, and with so many orders and deliveries coming in, thieves are taking advantage of the situation.
Lumyr Deriser said he heavily relies on online apps like Amazon, so these new schemes are frightening for him.
“I use Amazon all the time,” said Deriser. “I think it’s geared toward young people.”
In nearby Malden, police Capt. Marc Gatcomb said there have been multiple reports of people being scammed out of money through Cash App.
“Its bad enough you’re getting the phone calls; now, they want you to download these apps, and obviously, that is not a good thing,” said Capt. Gatcomb.
WFXT has reached out to Cash App and Amazon for statements but has not heard back from them.
Police are taking this as a chance to warn consumers to protect their personal information and not to answer calls from unknown numbers.