4 Types of Venmo Scams You Should Look Out for

Venmo is one of the most popular mobile payment services out there, with over 50 million users in the US. It makes splitting bills, rent, and checks easier. Plus, it’s considerably faster than traditional wire transfers.

But as with everything involving money, scammers are never too far away.

So, here are the 4 most common Venmo scams you need to look out for.

The Venmo texting scam

This involves a trick known as smishing, aka phishing over SMS.

Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails and pretending to represent a reputable company to entice you to reveal personal information, passwords, company data, credit card numbers, or other valuable details.

Scammers posing as Venmo send text messages to users saying their accounts are about to be charged, but they must log in if they want to revert it.

This type of message feels urgent, so many people take the bait. They click the link and log in to keep their money. But, as you’ve probably guessed, the link is just a front, and scammers use it to siphon your private information. Once they have your credentials, they use them to get your funds.

Double-checking is crucial. Don’t click the link if:

        • The domain seems suspicious.
        • It’s shortened, and you can’t see where it leads.
        • The URL has any typos.
        • You received it via unsolicited DMs, emails, or random texts.

If you fear there’s been an unauthorized charge to your Venmo account, only use the official app or website to make sure everything’s OK.

The fake sale scam

Venmo wasn’t made with businesses in mind. The app caters explicitly to personal use and transactions between friends or acquaintances.

However, since it’s so easy to use, people also rely on it to shop. But buying and selling online with Venmo mainly relies on an honor system. You need to trust that the person you’re doing business with will really send you the goods you’re promised because there is no way you can reverse the charges.

Except for commercial transactions expressly authorized by Venmo, for example, transactions with authorized merchants or business profiles, or purchases made using your Venmo Mastercard®, personal accounts may not be used to conduct business, commercial or merchant transactions with other personal accounts, which includes paying or accepting payment from other personal accounts held by users you do not personally know for goods or services (for example, concert tickets, electronic equipment, sneakers, a watch, or other merchandise).

Since Venmo does not have a chargeback system, it’s easy for scammers to pretend to sell goods or services. I reality, they have nothing to ship. As soon as they have your money, they’re really gone since Venmo has no buyer protection policies in place.

If you are a seller, you’re taking a significant risk by accepting Venmo payments. Remember, Venmo says you shouldn’t use the app for informal sales, like Craigslist or Facebook market.

The company can reverse Venmo payments you receive after they hit your account. Basically, after you get the funds, it looks as if the transaction is complete. The money appears in your Venmo account instantly, and you might even be able to use them.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, the person who paid you can file a claim with Venmo or even use a stolen credit card number to fund the payment. Eventually, the card’s legitimate owner might complain, and the payment will be canceled. And you will be left with no money, even if you already shipped the product you wanted to sell.

The money transfer

The Better Business Bureau began warning consumers about this money transfer scam more than a year ago. The money transfer scam can target any digital wallet, like Venmo, PayPal, Cash App, Apple Pay, and many others.

In this multi-step scam, evildoers connect stolen credit cards to Venmo and use them to transfer money to random people “by accident”. Then, they ask for the money back. They pray on your good intentions of being a lawful citizen and returning the money.

But before you start the transfer, they replace the stolen card details with their own. This way, the money you send reaches them.

In the meantime, the person whose credit card details were stolen will have contacted their bank. They will reverse the charges and block their credit card.

But the funds have to come from somewhere. Yes, you’ve guessed it. They’ll be pulled out of your account.

Since Venmo can’t reverse the charges, as the original credit card is now blocked, you have no real option of getting your money back.

Keep in mind that credit cards usually cover fraud costs, but many digital wallet vendors do not.

The in-person scam

Most Venmo scams occur online, but this one’s from the con artists who don’t mind hitting the streets.

In-person scams are far older than any digital scams, but it seems they just don’t die. Here’s how it goes.

Scammers approach people in public places that aren’t necessarily crowded. They spin a story about how they are in a pickle and ask you to lend them your phone to make a quick call. They can do so by just claiming that their phone just died or they forgot it at home.

After you agree, scammers pretend to make a call to someone’s who’s not picking up. Then, they suggest sending a text instead. But they’re not texting. They’re just making a quick Venmo transfer from your account.

After getting your phone back, you might go about your day and not double-check your apps. So, you’ll most likely not even be aware for some time that you were scammed.

What to do if you have been scammed

You can never be too careful when it comes to money.

Since most scammers rely on social engineering, manipulation, or deceitful tricks, it’s sometimes tough to tell you’re dealing with someone who wants to steal from you.

If you got scammed, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Report any phishing scams or Venmo employee impersonations to spoof@paypal.com.
  2. Contact support@venmo.com if you’ve suspect unauthorized access to your Venmo account or if you are locked out of your account.
  3. Contact your bank to reverse the charges if your Venmo account is linked with your credit card.
  4. Contact your local authorities and let them know you were scammed.

All in all, be mindful of the people you send money to and be cautious when selling and buying things online.

However, you should also know that Venmo isn’t exactly the pinnacle of online security.

As with any online wallet, you need to take some extra steps to protect your account. For starters, choose a strong and complex password and activate two-factor authentication (2FA). You can also consider upping your security with a VPN.

A VPN stands for virtual private network, and it’s an easy-to-use software that can hide your IP address, encrypt your connection, and protect your digital identity. No one can track your online activity, and your accounts are protected from prying eyes.

 

How do you keep an eye out for scammers? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, stay safe and secure!

Leave a comment

I was selling some jewelry and I was going to fedex it to them and I received an email saying once it’s don’t proving it will hit my Venmo account. I looked in my Venmo and have no pending transactions or anything saying the money is there until they receive the package. They are now telling me Venmo will confirm the transaction as soon as the processing unit is confirmed. Is this a scam or should I proceed with sending out the package?

Reply

Hi Jimmy! Venmo is indeed a bit risky when it comes to business transactions, because it has no seller or buyer protection, unless you specifically have a Business account. You could try requesting some sort of proof that your customer is actually planning on sending the money before sending the package.

A person I’ve never met or heard of deposited 10 dollars into my account. When I asked why and who they were she said it was a mistake and left the money in my account. I was afraid to have it deposited because I recently Sold my home and have lots of money in my account. I didn’t want that to be some sort of scam to get into my account so I took my account and bank card off of the Venmo account.

Reply

Hi Mary! It’s usually a good sign that the person doesn’t pressure into sending the money back. But in this case, it’s best to trust your instinct.

My husband received a venmo debit card at our home we haven’t lived at for several months. He claims he didn’t request it or know what it ( venmo) even is. What should he do?

Reply

Hi Amy! Your husband should check under ‘Settings’ in the Venmo app. Then check under ‘Venmo Debit Card’ to see if any requests were placed. It might also help to double-check if the address of your home corresponds with that from Venmo’s systems. If not, head over to the Venmo support team for them to check the debit card further.

So 50 dollars showed up in my venmo account I have no recent Transactions I only had like 6 bucks in there Plus nobody sent me a message with a fake story what should I do

Reply

Hi Douglas! It could be an honest mistake if you didn’t receive any messages from the sender. Make sure the sum really is in your Venmo balance. If so you can send the money back and block the sender to prevent this from ever happening. If you’re unsure, head on over to Venmo support so that they can assist you further.

Selling something and they say they will pay through venmo. They told me to check my email and there wasd one that said Venmo additional payment. Said the buyer needed to send an extra $200 to change my account to a business account. Then I got another email saying they paid the additional $200 and I needed to refund them the $200 before the money was put into my account. This sounds like a scam and not sure what to do

Reply

Hi Dorinda! This does sound quite suspicious. Keep in mind that selling and accepting payments with Venmo is always a bit risky, as long as you don’t have a Venmo business account. This means that if they’re luring you into a scam, Venmo won’t refund any money you send over. Try reasoning with the buyer or even contacting the site through which you’re selling to settle the matter. If this doesn’t work, Venmo support might have more information on what you can do with their app.

I really appreciate u because I’ve never heard of Venmo and I was gonna send my phone off but they wanted me to send the phone first take a pic of the receipt and send confirmation number

Reply

Glad to hear you found the article helpful, Tonya. 🙂

Hi, Alina! Thanks for all the information. One new scam I’ve noticed is a text stating that Venmo wants to send you money since you’ve been a customer for one year. I’ve received 2-3.But, I be NEVER had a Venmo account. I’m positive it’s a new scam

Reply

Hi Adrianna. Glad to hear you found the article helpful. That definitely sounds fishy. If you have any concerns about these messages, I’m sure the Venmo support team can verify and help you further. Stay safe!

Hi I just received money from venmo but I’m not too sure if this is scammers can you help me check this as quick as possible please, thank you

Also I don’t have venmo account but I give her my account details to send money

Reply

Hi Yossanan! I’m afraid I’m not exactly sure what you mean. What account details did you give if you don’t have a Venmo account? Also did you check with the person you gave your private details to?

Hi there went to the bank today & found out someone took money from my acct shall I report it to the authorities?

Reply

Sorry to hear you went through that, Regina. I’d advise you to notify your local authorities as soon as possible. They’ll help you further.

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