Venmo scams take several forms and shapes, and potential scammers are easier to pinpoint than others.
The Better Business Bureau has recently warned customers regarding a Venmo digital wallet scam that involves malicious actors accidentally sending money to users. It seems as if scammers are connecting stolen credit cards to Venmo apps and transferring money to unsuspected customers. Once the transfer is done, they contact the user on the app with a message which sounds believable, for instance, “Can you reverse the money sent mistakenly?”
Well, the Venmo app is not entirely safe to use. It has been historically associated with several payment frauds, and this continued after reporting losses of approximately $40 million during the first three months of 2018. There are several scams related to the Venmo app. In this article, we’ll be discussing various Venmo scams and how to protect you from such attacks.
Venmo Text Phishing Scams
This scam involves the scammer sending you a text message that looks like it has come from the app. The impersonator provides a link and asks you to follow it and enter some information to prove your account. In some cases, they might warn you that your account will get closed if you don’t proceed further.
This reminds of the recent Instagram phishing scam in which scammers send copyright infringement message threatening users to give their feedback or their account will be closed.
If you have been a victim of such a scam, then you should take some vital steps to protect yourself from identity theft. To protect yourself, you need to change your Venmo password before the scammer can steal your account. In case, the hacker is successful in their motives, contact Venmo, and report the incident.
In-Person Funds Transfer Scams
The scam starts with a stranger approaching you on the street. They come and say that their phone battery or they’ve lost their phone somewhere, and all they need is to make an emergency call. Upon giving your phone, the fraudster will pretend to make a call and say that the person isn’t answering the call. They will also ask you if they can send a text message.
If you say yes, they will directly open your Venmo app and transfer your money into their account. They might even delete the app later to stop it from sending alerts regarding the transactions. You can file a report to the police or report it to the app but, in no way, you’ll be getting your money back.
Never give your phone to an unfamiliar person and enable the password option or thumbprints expression for transactions like sending money via Venmo because only then can you prevent yourself from becoming a victim of such attacks.
Hacked Venmo Account Scam
This scam requires an online sale where the attacker is the buyer. They steal a third party Venmo account and use it to make the purchase. Afterward, when the third party realizes that their account was hacked, Venmo reverses the transactions as being a fake one.
Fake Venmo Sale Scam
The scammer claims to sell anything through the online marketplace in this scam. They either request the first payment or a handsome payment through the Venmo app. After payment has been made, the scammer breaks off all contact, and you end up without any money or item you want to buy.
As Venmo is designed for use among friends and not for buying or selling merchandise, the attackers are better able to pull this scam with a little fear of repercussion. Reporting to Venmo won’t help you because you have broken their terms of services by trying to use Venmo to buy items from a stranger.
Reversed Venmo Transaction Scam
In this type of scam, scammers look for online sellers that will accept payment through Venmo. Like for example, if you are selling products through Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, and the fraudster will contact you asking if they can pay via Venmo.
Once the scammer transfers the amount, and they receive their items, they reverse the transaction. Venmo has no fraud protection by default, and you’re not supposed to use it to sell things to strangers. As a result, you won’t be able to get your money or items back.
Bluetooth Venmo Scam
This scam might trick you because you won’t know that you came in contact with the scammer. The hackers use your phone’s Bluetooth connection to get access to your phone. Once they gain access, they use your Venmo app to transfer money to their account. To prevent this, do not use the feature that prevents your phone from locking when connected to the Bluetooth device.
Make sure to use additional protections, like requiring a fingerprint or password to unlock the phone and require a password or fingerprint to start transactions like sending money via Venmo. If you’re a victim of this scam, contact Venmo and tell them you were hacked and try to cancel the payment.
If you have got a credit card linked instead of a bank account, directly contact your credit card company as you might have additional protections.
Stuck Venmo Balance Scam
It is a money-laundering scam that has a lot in common with some evil tricks. It starts with a person asking your Venmo account information. The scammer pretends like they have money stuck in their account, and they want to send it to you. They offer you to keep some cash if you send the rest back to them.
In actuality, the scammer will usually send you money from a stolen credit card. When the card is reported to be stolen, Venmo will reverse the transaction and take the money from your account. At the same time, scammers will have your money with no way of getting it back.
To simply avoid this scam, do not answer to anyone who makes this type of request and immediately report them to Venmo if they send the money by any means.
Other Tips to Prevent Venmo Scams
Following are some of the other guidelines to prevent Venmo scams:
Use money transfer with close friends: Protect yourself from scams by using only money transfer apps for their intended purpose, i.e., sending money to people you know.
Enable Extra Security Settings: Check out your account settings to see if you can turn on the additional security measures like a PIN Code or using fingerprint recognition such as Touch ID.
Link Your Money Transfer App to Credit Card: Using a credit card will protect you if you didn’t get the services you paid for. Linking to a direct debit card or bank account does not give you that added protection.
Use Strong Password on Your Phone: Set up a strong and unique password for your phone so, if it is stolen or lost, criminals can’t access the payment apps. You can also secure your phone by using biometrics security methods or other privacy tools like VPN available in the market. You can learn more about it here.
Set up Multi-Factor Authentication: Set up a multi-factor authentication feature, so when Venmo doesn’t recognize the device trying to access your account, it will send a code to your phone or email address to verify the login.
To sum up all, Venmo is a good option for the online transaction but, as cybersecurity is at risk so, hackers won’t leave any chance to harm the users. Be careful while using this app and be aware of the scams as mentioned above and follow the precautionary tips to prevent you from falling victim.