If you use Venmo to make payments to friends and family members, there are scams you need to be aware of that attempt to exploit the platform and law enforcement officials recently reported a new one.
Scammers have been sending text messages to Venmo users, mimicking the app’s appearance, telling them their accounts will soon be charged. If they don’t recognize the payment, they are told, they should log into their accounts to dispute it.
The text reportedly allows users to easily access their accounts but asks for personal information to identify the user. If that information is provided it is stolen and then sold on the dark web.
Law enforcement officials warn Venmo users not to use any information provided in a text to enter their account. Instead, they are advised to use either the Venmo app or the webpage.
A year ago, Venmo parent company PayPal reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after the agency charged it with failing to protect users’ privacy and misleading them about the money in their accounts.
The FTC claimed that Venmo did not adequately explain how money is transferred from a Venmo account to a bank account and did not employ proper security safeguards. The agency said it has been too easy for scammers to take advantage of these features and take users’ money.
Scammers target apps that move money
Scammers often target apps used to move money, and Venmo has been no exception. In one scam, the FTC says a seller might send off a purchased item after being informed that funds had been transferred to their Venmo account.
But in some cases, the agency says the scammer, posing as a buyer, could ask Venmo to reverse the charge and obtain the item without having to pay for it.
The FTC says there are ways to protect yourself. When using an online platform to buy or sell, check to see what kind of insurance policy it offers. Some platforms have excellent coverage, waiving charges if there is a problem.
Authorities say consumers using an online platform to buy or sell should exercise caution, especially when dealing with a stranger. If something doesn’t seem quite right, they say, don’t go through with the transaction.