Many people use Venmo as a convenient way to pay for things. However, it is more vulnerable to scammers because it doesn’t offer the same fraud protection as other payment methods. If you are a frequent user, here are 3 common scams on Venmo you should know about.
3 Common Scams on Venmo
1. Mistaken Payments
One of the most common scams on Venmo involves mistaken payments. This scam starts with an unexpected payment from an unknown person. It is soon followed with a message claiming they “accidentally” sent the payment to the wrong person and need a refund. Once you send them the money, you will never hear from them again.
If this happens to you, it is probably someone using a stolen credit card. Since Venmo transactions are instantaneous, it can take a few days to verify payments. Therefore, it’s difficult to track or catch scammers. So, it’s best to leave it alone and let their bank handle it. In most cases, the true owner will the charges reversed. But if you already refunded them, then the money will come out of your pocket.
Another popular scheme is when fraudsters impersonate someone you know or trust. They will even go as far as to use a profile picture of your friend, then contact you with a financial emergency.
Other times, they will pose as a Venmo employee to gain access to your account and personal information. They may call, pretending to be a support agent who is asking your to verify unauthorized transactions. But more often, they will send phishing emails and text to notify you of suspicious activity.
In these situations, it’s best to close that channel of communication. A quick phone call to your friend or Venmo’s customer support could save you from becoming a victim of fraud.
3. “Free” Money and Fake Prizes
The promise of free money and fake prizes is one of the oldest scams in the book. However, it is adapting to new mediums.
If you receive a notification that you have won a free prize or have unclaimed money, you should already be on alert. But, if they need you to provide your bank information to claim it, you can bet it’s a scam.
Likewise, if someone tries to draw you into a money circle that promises you large returns from your initial investment, run. Anything that requires you to cash checks or send a Venmo payment will cost you more than it’s worth.
How to Keep Your Account Safe from Scammers
Unfortunately, Venmo does not offer as much security as other electronic payments. It only only offers purchase protection if it falls under the strict guidelines of their user agreement.
However, there are still things you can do to protect yourself while using the app.
- Only send or receive Venmo payments from people you trust.
- If you receive a strange request, check with the person that it is a real request.
- Never click on links from unknown email addresses or phone numbers.
- Change the settings on your account to keep transactions private.
- Increase the security on your account with Two-Factor Authentication and a strong password that you change regularly.
Although technology has made life more convenient, it’s also important to be aware of it’s vulnerabilities. The best thing you can do is remain updated on current scams and report them if you receive suspicious communications.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.