When Your Last $166 Vanishes: ‘Fast Fraud’ Surges on Payment Apps

Charee Mobley, who teaches middle school in Fort Worth, Texas, had just $166 to get herself and her 17-year-old daughter through the last two weeks of August.

But that money disappeared when Ms. Mobley, 37, ran into an issue with Square’s Cash App, an instant payments app that she was using in the coronavirus pandemic to pay her bills and do her banking.

After seeing an errant online shopping charge on her Cash App, Ms. Mobley called what she thought was a help line for it. But the line had been set up by someone who asked her to download some software, which then took control of the app and drained her account.

“I didn’t have gas money and I couldn’t pay my daughter’s senior dues,” Ms. Mobley said. “We basically just had to stick it out until I got paid the following week.”

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