Top 10 Venmo scams – and how to stay safe

Don’t be the subsequent sufferer – right here’s what to find out about a few of the commonest tips that scammers use on the fee app

Right this moment’s customers have a wealth of selection in relation to paying and sending money online. A variety of slick digital payment apps have emerged over latest years to make the entire course of as seamless as attainable for finish customers. However they’re not the one ones who’re profitable.

Sadly, scammers have additionally discovered apps like Cash App, Zelle and Venmo to be fertile searching grounds.

The story up to now

Venmo started life again in 2009 as an SMS-based software which gave its founders a useful solution to ship one another cash, with out having to make use of money or checks. Now part of PayPal, it’s a fully-fledged digital pockets and funds service that permits customers to ship and obtain funds rapidly, simply and freed from cost – through linked financial institution accounts. It processed an estimated US$230 billion globally in 2021.

Nevertheless, not like card funds, customers aren’t protected in the event that they by accident pay a fraudster. As soon as the cash has been transferred, it’s difficult to recoup. That makes it essential for customers to identify the warning indicators of fraud earlier than it’s too late.

Widespread Venmo scams to be careful for

Venmo scams can take many types. Some are linked to different fraud sorts like romance scams. Others would possibly contain pretend hyperlinks, or makes an attempt to steal not solely cash but additionally private data. Listed below are among the many 10 commonest on the time of writing.

1. Pretend prize/giveaway

A fraudster sends an unsolicited e mail or textual content message claiming the recipient has received cash from Venmo. Generally they might be requested to take a pretend survey in an effort to obtain the winnings. Regardless of the lure, the hyperlink connected to the message will normally take the sufferer to a phishing web page designed to elicit private and Venmo login particulars.

Supply: Twitter

2. Buy scams

For on-line consumers, particularly these searching for objects in excessive demand, there’s additionally lots to watch out for. One of many easiest scams is for a fraudster to steer the sufferer to ship cash (or a part of it) with out delivering the merchandise in query. They could even share pretend screenshots purporting to point out the merchandise has been delivered. The scammer may also ask the sufferer to not mark a fee as a purchase order. Doing so will allow the sufferer to qualify for Buy Safety if an merchandise isn’t delivered.

3. Cost error

The sufferer will get a observe out of the blue from a stranger saying they’ve by accident been paid. They’ll ask the sufferer to ship the cash again. Nevertheless, the unique cash has normally been paid through stolen card particulars. So when the actual cardholder finds out, they are going to request a chargeback and that cash disappears from the sufferer’s account.

Supply: Reddit

4. Impersonation/cash request

Fraudsters typically impersonate victims’ associates, utilizing data from their public feeds together with profile pics, to make fee requests. They’ll normally add some sort of time stress to pressure fee, reminiscent of pretending the buddy has been caught out and about with none money and urgently wants a fast Venmo fee.

5. Venmo phishing

In a single selection, a fraudster manages to log into the sufferer’s Venmo account, maybe by shopping for their username and password from a dark web site. Nevertheless, they’ll’t get previous the two-factor authentication (2FA) stage. That’s why they’ll name, pretending to be a member of the Venmo crew and requesting that the consumer supplies the MFA one-time passcode they are going to have obtained. The sufferer has simply fallen prey to vishing.

Let’s not neglect in regards to the traditional phishing rip-off the place the mark receives a notification out of the blue to say that there’s an issue with their account and they should act promptly to repair it.

Supply: Twitter

6. Pyramid scheme/cash circle/money wheel

There are numerous names for this rip-off, however all of them quantity to the identical factor. The sufferer receives an unsolicited provide claiming that in the event that they ship a small sum of money through Venmo, the scammer will “flip” it right into a sum price many instances extra and ship it again. They could impersonate one of many sufferer’s contacts so as to add legitimacy to the preposterous declare.

7. Pretend funds

If customers try to promote an merchandise on-line, reminiscent of through Facebook Marketplace, scammers could attempt to use Venmo to trick them into believing a fee has already been made. This would possibly embrace a pretend screenshot purporting to verify the fee. Or the scammer could pay utilizing stolen card particulars, which suggests the fee is subsequently faraway from the sufferer’s Venmo account. They could even attempt to trick the sufferer by telling them the Venmo fee will solely be confirmed as soon as the merchandise is shipped, and delivery particulars uploaded to the app.

Supply: Twitter

8. Verify rip-off

A sufferer is attempting to promote an merchandise on a web based market. The scammer sends a verify for greater than the agreed sum, after which requests the additional be returned to them through Venmo. The verify will normally bounce, which means the sufferer is down the merchandise and the cash that they despatched.

9. Methods by bogus suitors and sugar daddies

Utilizing pretend profiles, romance scammers domesticate relationships with lonely hearts on courting websites, after which transfer the dialog on unpoliced channels like WhatsApp. After just a few weeks of constructing belief and affection, they are going to normally request the sufferer sends them cash for a made-up emergency, reminiscent of hospital payments or airline tickets. Fake sugar daddies or mommas have comparable tips up their sleeves, too.

10. Rental deposit rip-off

Scammers promote properties for hire utilizing scraped photos and knowledge. The property will normally be provided at a value far underneath the market fee, attracting quite a few enquiries. The victims will likely be requested to pay a holding deposit through Venmo earlier than they’ve even seen the place.

The right way to keep protected on Venmo

Venmo provides numerous safety protections for its customers, together with information encryption, account monitoring, 2FA and account PIN codes. Nevertheless, this doesn’t at all times defend customers from the fraud situations we’ve painted above.

Ensure to take the next precautions:

  • Solely ship and obtain cash from individuals you recognize and belief.
  • In the event you obtain an odd request from somebody you recognize, double verify with that individual to verify the message was genuine.
  • Don’t click on on any hyperlinks in unsolicited messages.
  • Preserve your Venmo transactions personal in order that they’re seen solely to the sender and recipient. To decide on this feature, you might have to go to ‘Settings’, faucet on ‘Privateness’ and alter your ‘Default Privateness Settings’ accordingly.
  • Select a strong and unique password to your Venmo account and switch on 2FA.

Venmo additionally provides a contact form for customers who’ve obtained a request they aren’t positive about, and a mechanism to report suspected scams. Ensure to remain alert to fraud when utilizing Venmo.


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