Cash App scammers are impersonating Jeffree Starr and David Dobrik in order to fake cash giveaways and defraud people

Cash App scammers are impersonating Jeffree Starr and David Dobrik in order to fake cash giveaways and defraud people
Jeffree Star/YouTube
  • Cash App scammers are impersonating YouTubers and influencers who frequently run cash giveaways in order to fleece unsuspecting fans.
  • When YouTubers like Jeffree Star and David Dobrik announced recent cash giveaways, scammers targeted fans requesting cash, using fake Cash App accounts to pose as the celebrities in question.
  • The scammers would message people asking to be wired a small amount to "verify" victims' identity, then make off with the money. In many cases, they were successful.
  • The trend has become increasingly common as celebs have upped cash giveaways following COVID-19 outbreaks, according to a cybersecurity researcher who tracks scam attempts.
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Cash App giveaways are tearing across the internet — but they're leaving a trail of scams and malicious accounts in their wake.

Rich influencers and celebrities regularly host online cash giveaways for their fans. It's an easy way to generate buzz and goodwill, and to give back to the online horde that made their career possible. The peer-to-peer payment service, run by Jack Dorsey's Square, makes it easy for its 24 million monthly users to send or request money from anyone.

Jeffree Star, a YouTuber with a billion-dollar makeup line, has been promoting cash giveaways weekly for the past month with the goal of giving away $35,000. Millionaire YouTuber David Dobrik regularly surprises fans with cash. Even Cash App itself runs a weekly cash giveaway on Fridays.

But these giveaways have also become an opportunity for scammers, according to Satnam Narang, a researcher and engineer with cybersecurity firm Tenable. Narang has been tracking Cash App scams since October, but says that there's been an uptick in recent months as more people seek out free cash amid COVID-19 related economic hardship.

Narang has traced dozens of instances in which scammers successfully separated people from their money by capitalizing on buzz surrounding cash giveaways. In many cases, scammers create Cash App accounts impersonating celebrities like Star or Dobrik, wait for people to drop their Cash App handle in the replies to the celebrities' tweet, 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. Early iterations of this scam were first reported by QZ.

Cash App scammers are impersonating Jeffree Starr and David Dobrik in order to fake cash giveaways and defraud people
Santam Narang/Tenable

"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," Narang said in an email to Business Insider. "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."

In other versions of the scam, malicious actors will simply claim that they're giving away money without pretending to be a celebrity, calling on their social media followers to "signal boost" their post in order to be entered in the running to win money. Once people participate, the scammers can target them using the same tactics listed above.

Narang says the problem could be curbed if Cash App added in-app warnings or directly communicated to users about the warning signs of cash-flipping scams. He also notes that, while Cash App is the most prevalent, scammers make use of a wide range of peer-to-peer payment apps including Venmo and PayPal.


A Cash App spokesperson told Business Insider that the company is "always working to protect our customers, which includes educating them about potential scams." People who believe they fell victim to a scam are encouraged to contact the company, which has also published guidance on its site about common scams.

Read the original article on Business Insider