Cash App Data Breach: Why It’s a Big Deal for Your Wallet

If you use the mobile payment app Cash App, money expert Clark Howard has a warning that could save you a lot of money and heartache.

Cash App recently disclosed that it suffered a data breach in December 2021. The company says it is notifying 8.2 million current and former customers as to how they could be affected.

Here’s Clark’s Urgent Advice on the Cash App Hack

Because Cash App links to your bank account or any financial account you’ve tied it to, Clark says the safe thing to do is to change any credentials that are the same or similar to your Cash App login information.

“Just take this simple precaution: I want you to update those usernames and passwords,” Clark says. “It won’t take you long.”

Cash App Hack: How It Happened

The revelation about the data breach is detailed in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) report filed on behalf of Block, the parent company of Cash App.

Here’s how the report describes the Cash App hack:

On April 4, 2022, Block, Inc. (the ‘Company’) announced that it recently determined that a former employee downloaded certain reports of its subsidiary Cash App Investing LLC (‘Cash App Investing’) on December 10, 2021 that contained some U.S. customer information. While this employee had regular access to these reports as part of their past job responsibilities, in this instance these reports were accessed without permission after their employment ended.

Block goes on to list different data that it says were not accessed by the breach, including usernames, passwords, date of birth and other information, but Clark says the hack is something Cash App users definitely need to be concerned about.

“The owners of Cash App have been quick to say, ‘Hey, they didn’t get your Social Security number or anything like that,’ but what the criminal has and what the criminal can sell is very sensitive information on who among those 8 million-plus has the most money,” Clark says.

“If a criminal is able to sell a qualified list of information of individuals who have really good amounts of money, then you become a serious target for people trying to get at that money,” Clark says.

Why You Need To Update Your Financial Usernames and Passwords

Here’s how the Cash App hack can put your 401(k), mutual fund or any other kind of financial account you have at risk:.

“If you have used your Cash App username on any of your accounts or if the password on any of your accounts is the same or similar to what you use on Cash App, you need to immediately change that information with the account,” Clark says.

Clark says depending on the type of account you have linked to your Cash App, your consumer protections may not be the same.

For example, the Consumer Credit Protection Act offers some protection against theft and other types of fraud, but the law doesn't cover brokerage accounts.

With a brokerage account, “you have to show that you were really responsible with the account to not be held responsible for the losses,” Clark says.

While the SEC's Regulation S-P mandates that member brokerage houses have policies and procedures to protect customers' information and records, you should contact your brokerage or investment firm to learn about any specific remedies they have in place in the event of a hack.

How To Protect Your Financial Information

Here are some other steps you may want to consider to protect your financial accounts.

Monitor Your Credit

Clark always recommends that you monitor your credit to watch for any suspicious activity. You can do so for free by signing up for Credit Karma and/or Credit Sesame.

Freeze Your Credit

Clark's #1 safeguard against any kind of financial fraud is to set up a credit freeze with the major credit bureaus. Read Clark's Credit Freeze Guide.

Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide more than just your username and password to access an account.

Typically with 2FA, you’ll need a second factor, which could be a PIN, a one-time code sent to your phone or even some biometric verification.

Contact your bank or brokerage to confirm that it supports two-factor authentication or look it up in your account’s security settings.

Think you’ve been exposed? Here’s how to prevent, repair and repair ID theft.

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