Venmo is a convenient mobile payment app that makes it easy to refund friends, purchase items on online marketplaces, and support small businesses. However, as Venmo scams are on the increase, Venmo scam protection should be top of mind for users at all times, especially if you are a business user.
How Do People Get Scammed on Venmo?
When you read about Venmo business account scams, you may start wondering: Is Venmo a scam? In reality, Venmo is a legitimate and convenient mobile payment app, but Venmo can’t guarantee that every person who requests payment is legitimate. Venmo protects users against some scams, but not all of them. If you are using the app to shop or sell items online, you have to be able to spot a scam on Venmo before criminals escape with your cash:
- Text phishing: Scammers send text messages using company fonts and colors to make them seem legitimate. Users then follow a link to a fraudulent site and enter their personal and financial information, which it’s used by criminals for their own gain.
- Sob stories: Some scams are perpetrated in person. A random person will approach a victim with a sob story and ask to text a family member from your phone to pick them up. Instead, they’ll open your Venmo app and transfer funds to their account.
- Free money: Scammers will send money using a stolen bank account number or credit card and ask you to refund the cash. When the original victim of the stolen card reports it, the money is reversed. You lose your money if you refund the scammer before Venmo reverses the transaction.
The Best Venmo Scam Protection Methods
There is always an element of risk when you are transacting online. Make sure that you are fully aware of the risks and the common scams that occur on Venmo to keep transacting safely and securely.
1. Know The Red Flags
Scammers usually share the same characteristics. They try to create a sense of urgency to pressure you into transferring money as quickly as possible, use flowery and even religious language to seem more trustworthy, offer up items for sale that are too good to be true, and act evasively at times when it comes to viewing items for sale or verifying information in person.
2. Use MFA
Multi-factor authentication is one of the most effective ways Venmo protects against scams. If they don’t recognize the device accessing your account, they will send a code to your phone or email asking you to verify the login. This is a great way of keeping your account safe, so always set it up right away.
3. Don’t Use Venmo to Sell Goods on Marketplaces
Selling your used goods on marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook is a great way to get rid of clutter and make extra cash, but you are dealing with customers that you don’t know – ones who may not have the best intentions.
To buy and sell items online, use payment systems that offer buyer protection so that if things do go wrong, you can have some recourse to protect yourself.
4. Avoid Clicking Links
If texts or emails arrive asking for financial information and details that appear to come from Venmo, ignore them. Scammers will often send these phishing emails to obtain your bank account information and social security numbers.
If you don’t know whether or not the link is legitimate, call the company or access their website directly for more information.
5. Don’t Let Anyone Use Your Phone
Being kind and helpful is wonderful – but you don’t deserve to have your kindness repaid with fraud. If someone asks to use your phone to text a relative, you can enter the phone number yourself and have them dictate the message while you hold the phone. Or better yet – just say, “no”.
6. Don’t Refund Money If You Don’t Know Who Sent It
If money shows up in your account – don’t act, even if the sender or someone purporting to be Venmo gets in touch asking you to refund it. Get in touch with Venmo directly and ask them to investigate.
If it’s legitimate, Venmo can reverse it. If the money was paid via a stolen card, you could be liable for the balance. Don’t spend it, but don’t refund it.
Venmo is a great app, but scammers will try to exploit the app to get their hands on your money. Use Venmo responsibly and practice solid Venmo scam protection methods to keep your cash safe and secure.