NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A local nonprofit is warning others after getting conned in a fake customer service scam.
It’s the number you dial when you need help, but the person on the other end of the call could be stealing from you.
Crooks are posing as call centers for prominent companies, pretending to help customers while they actively rob them.
To Camille Thompson, dancing means everything. She is the founder of the Dallas nonprofit known as M.O.M. Crew or Mind over Matter. But this is not your typical dance troupe.
M.O.M Crew is comprised solely of mothers and grandmothers. The group even competed on the national stage for shows like So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance.
The nonprofit’s goal is to help women everywhere chase their dreams. But a single phone call threatened that mission.
“When the money’s robbed from us, we’re heartbroken,” Thompson said.
Thompson manages the group’s funds through the mobile payment service, CashApp. After having trouble logging into her account Thompson decided to contact the company. She tried emailing customer service but had no luck.
“At this point, yes, a person is desperate,” Thompson said. “Yes, I want the thousands of dollars in my account.”
So Thompson searched for CashApp’s customer service number on Google. She called the first number that appeared in the search engine.
“Immediately you feel relief and you say finally I reached a human. This is great,” Thompson said.
The man on the other end claimed he worked for CashApp, so Thompson provided her account information. The agent promised to fix the issue in a few hours.
Instead, when Thompson opened the app, she made a startling discovery. “There was no account,” she recalled. “It was gone. The whole account was gone.”
The hotline was bogus. The scammer, who was unaffiliated with CashApp, stole more than $3,000.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, how many people are they robbing?'” Thompson said.
Look online and you’ll find the same number tied to other fake call centers for companies such as SnapChat, Instagram, even Google.
When The Ones for Justice called the number, the man who answered said he worked for CashApp. But when we asked if the number also served as the Instagram hotline, the man agreed.
After The Ones for Justice questioned how he could work for multiple companies at the same time, he said something so graphic it could not be aired on television.
“Is this what you told people trying to get help for their customer service problems? You know what you’re doing is criminal by taking these people’s money,” said CBS 11 Investigator Alanna Autler.
“Well everybody is doing something wrong in their life, so why not this?” the scammer replied.
The man, who admitted to ripping people off, claimed he’s been running the scam for five years.
“We’re going to let people know exactly what you’re up to,” Autler said. The scammer relied, “Do you really think that’s going to affect me?”
Autler: “Is there anything else you’d like to say to the people you ripped off?”
Thompson said she eventually received a partial refund only after hounding CashApp for help.
“I wish we could go back to a time where you pick up a rotary phone and say, ‘Hello, operator, please help me with the situation,'” she said.
CashApp’s parent company said the team generally communicates with customers via email and the company will never ask for the customer’s PIN.
A spokesperson for Square, the company developed CashApp, wrote –
“We are always working to protect our customers, which includes educating them about phishing scams. We remind customers that currently (1) the Cash App team generally communicates via email; (2) the email will come from a cash.app, square.com, or squareup.com address; and (3) the Cash App team will never solicit a customer’s PIN or sign in code outside of the app.”
Never Google a company’s customer service number. Instead, find the contact information directly on the company’s website.
If you believe you are the victim of a similar scam, you can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission here.