Rich influencers and celebrities have, since the beginning of the pandemic, hosted online cash giveaways for their fans. Those giveaways have been taken place on their verified accounts. These celebrities aren't giving out money on Facebook Live through Cash App, Zelle, Paypal or Venmo in any other place than their verified social media accounts. If you see it elsewhere, it's a scam.

As a member of numerous Utica/Rome Facebook Garage Sale pages, I think I see one of these at least every other day. Someone in the group shares a "live" video of a random celebrity giving out money. This time around, someone shared a video of YouTuber and founder of his own cosmetic brand, Jeffree Star "giving away" money to anyone who "commented below" with their preferred app handle, while also liking and sharing the video.

Screenshot via Facebook

Here's the thing: Jeffree Star HAS been promoting cash giveaways weekly for the past month with the goal of giving away $35,000. But here's the thing, this page above is NOT the place he's doing it. Nor is the video actually live.

According to Business Insider, scammers create Cash App accounts impersonating celebrities like Star, wait for people to drop their Cash App handle in the replies to the celebrities' tweet (or in this case, video,) and then DM them saying they've been selected to receive thousands of dollars. Rather than send their victims money, scammers then request a small amount of cash, claiming they need to "verify" their identity. In other cases, they'll send victims a malicious phishing link that appears to be a Cash App login page but is actually meant to steal their credentials.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

"If you're asked to pay a fee to 'verify' yourself or make a 'donation,' it is a complete scam. Ignore the request and report the user. Legitimate organizations will never request a verification fee," according to Satnam Narang, a researcher and engineer with cybersecurity firm Tenable. "If you receive a message saying you've won a Cash App giveaway, and it includes a link to log in to your Cash App, it is almost certainly a phishing site."

He also told Business Insider., while Cash App is the most prevalent, scammers make use of a wide range of peer-to-peer payment apps including Venmo and PayPal.

Cash App has some advice to follow if you do find yourself a victim.

If you receive a suspicious social media message, email, text or phone call regarding the Cash App, or see a phone number that you believe is illegitimate, please contact support to report the incident. Cash App will investigate and take action if needed.

 

HERE'S AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU MIGHT SEE:

Moral of the story here is: don't fall for the scam.