16 Venmo Scams to Watch Out For

If you live in the U.S. you can use this peer-to-peer payment method. Venmo sends and receives cash quickly. In the third quarter of 2022, the total Venmo payment volume was over 63 billion USD. The company is owned by Paypal.

Venmo offers different services like the ability to split a lunch bill, and transfer cash to your bank, and buy things from authorized merchants. But you need to be careful when sending money.

Like other digital transfer services, there’s the chance you can be scammed. Venmo accounts use high-level encryption to protect your bank information. But crooks still try to trick you into surrendering personal and financial information. And there are other types of bank account scams, as well as payment, email, and shipping issues.

Scammers pretend to be friends and relatives and even business associates. Remember once they receive the funds it’s difficult to get the cash back. Some of them are even similar to pyramid or money circle schemes.

What are Venmo Scams?

These scams, like most others, are designed to trick users into sending personal info or money transfers. A phishing text message or email can arrive through the Venmo app. One of the vulnerabilities is this payment app is very anonymous. That’s not a bonus for money transfer services.

Requesting cash through fraudulent accounts is easier this way. If you are reading about these scams, look for any editorial note that talks about affiliate payments for the information. And ways to keep your money safe.

venmo scams

Two Ways Scammers Fund Their Account: Stolen Credit Cards and Fraudulent Bank Accounts

Fraudulent transactions involving Venmo take several forms. Requesting money is only one.

The scammer can steal credit cards and open fraudulent accounts. The peer-to-peer payment app becomes aware and reverses the charges. Venmo recoups their funds but the seller is out of cash. The received money is long gone.

Georgia Man Gets His Venmo Account Scammed

Here’s a real-life example of what can happen to a Venmo account. Recently, a Georgia man had over $3,000 stolen through his email account. The thief grabbed his phone and stole the money. Unfortunately, the company insisted the funds be withdrawn. According to the victim, they wouldn’t allow him to speak with the fraud department and didn’t want the police report number.

Other cases report losses as high as $8,000.

Common Venmo Scams and How to Avoid Them

There are many different scams to be aware of that involve your credit cards and other ways into financial and personal information. Like the following:

 1. The “friend” scam

The payment request comes from someone impersonating one of your friends. Scammers can actually steal a profile picture to impersonate them. Reach out to them to verify the contact when they request money.

2. The “I sent you money but it didn’t go through” scam

Make sure the phone number and email address are verified. Here are some instructions for canceling the payment.

3. The “I need to borrow money for an emergency” scam

These imposters usually pose as friends or family. If you get one of these hang up and call or message your friend or family member.

4. The “I’m stranded in a foreign country and need help” scam

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has 150,000 of these filed. Don’t fall victim to these requests. Quite often they come from a hacked email account.

5. The “I’m stuck at the airport and need money for a taxi” scam

Strangers request funds here posing as a friend. One of the red flags is they are usually time sensitive. Double check the request is actually from someone you know.

6. The “chargeback” scam

Crooks open up a Venmo account with stolen credentials. Friendly fraud occurs when there are fake chargebacks on these.

7. The “friendship break-up” scam

Scammers use fake photos and profiles for a variety of unauthorized transactions. They try to gain your trust even though most scammers are interested in unauthorized transactions. And tricking you into sending funds by gaining your trust.

Here they might ask for cash for hotel or bus tickets to prevent a breakup.

8. The “I need to pay my rent/bills so can you lend me some money?” scam

Unsolicited requests like this are common on some payment apps. Getting information about fraud prevention and security means going to Venmo support. Email them at support@venmo.com.

9. The “Can you buy this gift for me?” scam

Some scammers who are trying this trick will ask you not to mark your payment as a purchase. Taking it that way means is covered by purchase protection.

10. The “I accidentally sent you money” scam

If a stranger wants to send money your way they might be using a stolen credit card. Don’t assume that it’s an honest mistake. These come from hacking your email address. Scammers ask for the funds back and switch credit card accounts so they get the cash.

Other Types of Venmo Scams

Crooks are always adapting their techniques. Apps used for business transactions and personal ones are susceptible. Like the following.

11. The Venmo Text Scan

Scammers pose as people from the company in this Venmo texting scam. They tell users a charge is about to be levied. They log in and lose their private information, their credentials, and their funds. The stolen funds can only be part of the problem if the fraudsters get a bank account number.

Check the URL for typos. It’s a sure giveaway for a Venmo scam.

12. Venmo Business Account Scams

This is a cash app that actually focuses on friends and family. It’s not always a good idea to conduct business on Venmo. They will freeze a suspicious account but they don’t always offer buyer protection to get the funds back. However, you can get a business profile here.

13. Venmo Email Scams

These scams are after your personal and financial information. Watch out for a random person sending you generic greetings like”Dear User.”

14. Venmo Credit Card Scams

If you feel that you are a victim, find out about fraud protection from Venmo tech support. Thieves can use a stolen credit card to try and get a victim to transfer funds. One of the bigger ones is when fraudsters transfer money to random people “accidentally.” And ask for it back.

15. Venmo Business Scams

You can exchange payments on this app with more than 83 million people. Check out the seller protection and eligible items covered for buyers.

Debit card purchases are included. The same goes for purchases made from authorized merchants. There might even be a refund on the shipping costs if you’ve been scammed. All good ways to keep your business safe. Device security can make a difference. If you lose your phone, prevent access to your account.

16. Fake Prize

Scammers use Venmo to send a link saying that you have won money or something like concert tickets. They ask you to link into your account and then steal the information.

If you need to make a fraud claim outside of Venmo, here’s an FTC link.

What to Do if You Are a Victim of Venmo Scammers

You can report a phishing  or any other scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC.) Keep an eye on your bank account information and credit card statements.

Venmo Is one of the money transfer apps that doesn’t usually get involved in disputes. So you may not get any lost money back. Read The User Agreement.

Can you get Venmo scam protection?

Unlike credit cards or debit cards, there is little protection. Still, you can contact Venmo’s customer service in some situations. If you’re traveling abroad, you can use a virtual private network to connect.

Will Venmo refund money if scammed?

Transfers to authorized businesses might be covered.  Otherwise, contact your bank.

What precautions can you take if you are buying from a stranger?

Getting a Venmo-approved business account will allow you to send money and have protection. Always try to verify details like a recipient’s phone number.

Are there times sellers should never use Venmo?

If you’re going to sell items online with Venmo, transactions need to be authorized. Don’t transact with people you don’t know personally. These are not allowed under the user agreement and can lead to problems like identity theft.

In the end, you can make up your mind about Venmo by looking at their Better Business Bureau reviews. Was this article helpful? We are always looking forward to your comments.


Image: Depositphotos

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. His print credentials include employment with various Toronto area newspapers and three works of fiction: The Apple Lady (2004), Creekwater (2006) and Sophistry By Degrees (2008) published by Stonegarden Press In California.