We want your experience on Venmo to be as fun and effortless as possible. Here’s some information to help you avoid common scams. Remember: Outside of paying authorized merchants, Venmo is designed for payments between friends and people who trust each other. You can find more information about using Venmo to make purchases here.
- Be careful. Don’t use Venmo to join a pyramid, cash wheel, money circle or other get rich quick scams
- Don’t use Venmo to sell anything to strangers
- Don’t use Venmo to buy anything from anyone you don’t know and trust
Scams offering to increase your money
- A scammer might ask you to send them a small amount of money in order to receive a large amount in return. (For example: “Send me $100, and in a week you’ll get $1,000”)
- This might be a stranger, but it also might be someone you know
- This type of scam goes by a few different names: money circle, cash wheel, pyramid scheme
- The scammer collects your money but never pays you back
How to avoid this scam: Know whom you’re dealing with. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Scams when you’re selling something to a stranger
- If you’re trying to sell something using Venmo, a scammer may ask to provide the item or service without actually paying you legitimate funds
- A scammer may send screenshots of fake emails that make it seem like they’ve paid you on Venmo when they haven’t actually made a payment
- Another common tactic is telling you they’ve sent you a payment that will only reach your Venmo account when you ship the item and upload the shipping information. But this is fake, and it’s not a feature Venmo provides
- A scammer may pay you using stolen credit cards or bank information. If the actual owner of the payment method reports unauthorized activity, the money could be removed from your Venmo account
How to avoid this scam: Don’t use Venmo to sell anything to strangers. If someone has paid you on Venmo, you should see the funds available in your Venmo account without any delay. But remember, payments made from stolen payment methods could be removed from your Venmo account even after they’ve been made available to you.
Scams when you’re buying something from a stranger
- If you’re trying to buy something using Venmo, a scammer may try and persuade you to pay them first (the full or partial amount) and then not provide what they promised you
- This is especially common with items that are rare, popular, and hard to find (like gaming consoles, shoes, concert tickets, mobile devices, and more)
- A scammer may give you fake shipping information or screenshots to convince you they’ve sent the item when they actually haven’t
How to avoid this scam: Don’t use Venmo to buy anything from anyone you don’t know and trust.
Scams when someone pretends to be your friend and requests money
- A scammer may change their username and profile picture to impersonate someone you may know personally.
- Using information visible in the public feed, the scammer will request money from individuals who have transacted with your friend in the past.
- The request will seem unusual and indicate a time-sensitive issue
How to avoid this scam: If you get an unusual request for money from someone who looks like a friend, it’s worth double-checking that the request is actually from your friend and not from an imposter. These imposters may steal a profile picture to impersonate your friend on Venmo. You can tap on their profile to confirm their public transaction history and network information. When in doubt, you can reach out to your friend outside of Venmo to verify that the request is legitimate.
Examples of other situations that could potentially be scams
- New online employer/job offer wants you to send money on Venmo to pay for supplies or onboarding expenses
- New landlord wants you to pay a rent deposit for a property without them providing appropriate paperwork, keys, etc.
For more information about security on Venmo, visit our Security page. For more information about the Venmo card, using Venmo to pay on the web or in apps, and using Venmo to pay for goods and services when directly given the option to do so by Venmo, visit this article.