Venmo is a payment app that makes it simple to send money to family and friends. Let’s say you and a friend are dining at a restaurant and want to split the bill. One of you can pay the whole bill and the other can send their half of the money via the Venmo app. The app works for any instance where you need to send someone money, regardless if they’re borrowing it from you, you’re buying something, or even sending it to someone as a gift. Pretty convenient until you learn about Venmo scams.
Recently Venmo has become a tool for cybercriminals looking to steal money from you, or even collect your financial and personal information. The sad truth is hackers have learned how to use the platform to trick users into providing them with Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and other info. These criminals have gone as far as even making fraudulent purchases. Thus, leaving the seller with no product or compensation.
The good news is that by being aware these things happen, you can protect yourself. The following information will help you know the popular Venmo scams to look out for.
1. Venmo Phishing Scam
This scam occurs when you receive a text message that appears as if it came from Venmo. However, it’s actually coming from a scammer, and they are asking you to follow a link to enter information to verify your account. Sometimes they’ll even tell you that by not complying your account will be closed.
If you fall victim to the phishing scam, you will give the scammer information such as your Venmo login details or social security number. Doing this will not only compromise your account with Venmo, but it can also lead to identity theft.
You will need to take necessary steps to protect yourself if you’ve fallen victim to this. Be sure to change your Venmo password immediately, and contact their customer service to inform them about the incident.
2. The Hacked Account Venmo Scam
A scammer will act as a buyer for an online sale. In reality, the scammer has stolen a Venmo account from a third party, and decides to use it to make purchases. When the third party figures out that their account was hacked, Venmo reverses the fraudulent transaction.
When you are targeted by this scam, you don’t receive the money and you’re out the product that you sold.
3. Venmo Scams Offering To Increase Money
These scams may come in different forms, and they may be attempted by strangers or even people you know. The scammer will ask you to send a certain amount of money to them, with the empty promise that you will receive more money. For example, you send $50, and within a week they’ll send you $500. The person takes your money, but you never receive anything back.
This scam can go by several names including cash wheel, money circle, or pyramid scheme. To avoid being tricked into this, always make sure you deal with people you know and trust. If something sounds too good, it probably is.
4. The Fake Sale Venmo Scam
There are people who will post items for sale on platforms such as Craigslist or other online marketplaces. They will try to convince you to send a deposit or upfront payment via Venmo. Once they’ve received your money, they end all contact with you. So, you end up without the item you’re trying to buy, and your money.
Beware of this scam while trying to purchase items from strangers, especially popular or rare items such as shoes, mobile devices, gaming consoles, concert tickets, etc. Also be aware that the scammer may go as far as providing you with fake screenshots for shipping information. Though it looks convincing, it’s fake.
Venmo suggests that you only use their platform to buy items from people you know and trust.
5. Bluetooth Venmo Hack
This one is more tricky because you may not even realize you were scammed right away. The person essentially uses a Bluetooth connection to hack your phone. Once inside they go into the Venmo app and make money transfers to their account.
If you don’t want to fall victim to this scam, do not use any feature that prevents your phone from locking when connected via Bluetooth. Also, set extra protections such as requiring a fingerprint or password to unlock your phone. You should even go as far as requiring a password or fingerprint to initiate transactions such as transferring money via Venmo.
If this happens to you, contact Venmo and explain the situation. They may be able to cancel the payment for you. If it was a credit card that’s linked to your account, rather than a bank account, your credit card company may have protections in place to help you.
Other Venmo Scams
If you are looking for a new job or rental property, there are a few additional ones you should be aware of:
- An employer you found online wants you to send money through Venmo to cover on-boarding expenses or new hire supplies.
- A landlord you found online wants you to pay the rental deposit through Venmo without them providing you with keys or the correct paperwork.
There are lots of other Venmo scams, with new ones popping up frequently. Most of these scams are easy to avoid and recognize. So, always remain vigilant, and as we said if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
Using Venmo to transfer money to people you know and trust is the easiest way to avoid scams. Remember that some people make a living off scamming others, and they will do so using any platform they can. Check out this article about check cashing scams.