BAYSIDE, Wis. — Over the summer, a Bayside man was looking for Bucks playoff tickets. He came across four on Craigslist for $125 each.
Bayside police officer Gina Kleeba explains how things when south fast.
"He wasn't familiar with Cash App at all," she said.
According to Kleeba's court documented account of the case, "the seller advised that he was currently out of town caring for a sick relative and asked to be paid via online exchange Cash App."
The man didn't have the app, so the seller "walked him through" installing Cash App. The man then paid the seller $500 for the four tickets. Then something unexpected happened, which ended up turning this into a theft by fraud case.
"He then got a text back on his phone, the buyer's phone, that he believed was from Cash App and said the payment didn't go through," Officer Kleeba said.
"He ended up making three payments through Cash App. So he's at a loss of $1,500," she said.
"He tried to call the seller back, but he had been blocked."
TMJ4 News contacted the buyer. He didn't want to do an on-camera interview for our story, but showed us the texts he got, telling him there was a problem with his payment. He thought they looked authentic.
Those texts, according to Officer Kleeba's investigation, were not from Cash App.
"When I looked up the phone number it looked like it was a documented scam number," she said.
"There had been several entries online in a reverse look up of that number that people had been scammed either through Cash App or through fraudulent links to obtain money."
Officer Kleeba says these mobile payment schemes are becoming more prevalent. Her tips for any buyer? Deal with trusted online sellers or someone you know, meet up in person, ask about refund policies and use credit cards, not debit cards.
There's a good ending to this story. The Bayside man ended up getting his $1,500 back after months of going back and forth with his bank.
He told TMJ4 News he'll only be using credit cards from now on since there's more consumer protection that way. As far as the person accused in this case, Officer Kleeba has a person of interest who is located in Michigan.
She's sending this case over to a police department there to take over.
TMJ4 News also reached out to Cash App for comment on this story. Cash App told us its users should send payments to people they trust and if a customer is sending a payment to someone for the first time, the app will tell you to check the other person's customer profile before sending.
Cash App also told us preventing fraud is very important to the company and that it continues to fund fraud fighting resources like adding staff to its team and using new technology on its platform.
Cash App says it educates its users on potential scams on its website.