A new Venmo scam is making the rounds nationally, one that can lead to massive financial losses in your Venmo account.
Payment apps are a fairly new invention, especially peer-to-peer apps that are connected to your bank account or a credit card. Unfortunately, what is not new is phishing scams.
Fraudsters are reaching out to unsuspecting victims and convincing them that something is wrong with their account. The scammer, while looking and sounding like the legitimate company, tricks the victim into handing over their account credentials, sending money or doing something else that causes them harm.
Payment apps that allow you to make retail or restaurant purchases have been in use for a long time, but these new apps like Venmo allow you to pay another individual simply by having an account. You might split the cost of dinner with a friend or pay someone back for buying your concert ticket when they bought theirs. The idea is that it is more convenient than cash and does not incur such a high fee as some online payment methods.
Law enforcement and Venmo have both issued warnings to the public about a new Venmo scam that includes phishing attempts that come through as text messages, claiming to be the payment app company.
Since the app is installed on the user’s phone, receiving a text message might not seem so strange at first. What is strange, though, is the request to verify your username and password due to a supposed problem with your account. In the Venmo scam the victim clicks the link, enters their credentials to verify or unlock their account, and the scammers log into that account from their own device, then send themselves a massive payment from the Venmo user’s account. As you can see, this Venmo scam is very effective because it looks trustworthy.
A Facebook post to warn the public of the Venmo scam was issued by the Dighton, Massachusetts police department with information on the scam. It was later confirmed by Venmo, who issued its own warning.
The company has stated that they will never text or email you for your credentials. However, avoiding any scam like this requires the ability to ignore it.
If you ever get a text, email or phone call about an account you own, ignore it and go directly to the app settings or customer service number yourself. Do not trust the contact information in the message, but rather look it up on your own. Do not click any links or open any attachments. Look into your account to see if there really is anything suspicious going on, and then contact a support agent if you need to be sure.