A simple coupon sent via Venmo has turned into something of a nuisance for users of the popular payment app. Spammy and annoying, Venmo users are suddenly getting a lot of requests from strangers with nefarious intent. The problem has become so serious that Venmo has made an official announcement explaining why they’re seeing this uptick.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Venmo admits that they’re seeing spammy requests “in much higher than usual” numbers and that they’re “trying to find the root cause, which could explain the spikes.”
Starting from now on, Venmo says “we will not process payment requests from users you have not personally connected with yet.” According to TechCrunch, the app’s payment reps say “they haven’t found cause for the spike, and that the occurrences have all been shut down.”
The creator of a Twitter account dedicated to Venmo spam in early December detailed a number of shady ways that users “are trying to get paid off by getting other people to send them payment to Venmo,” according to TechCrunch. The account has since been suspended, likely because of its public nature.
I am an account making fun of spamming on Venmo 😂. Just spent an hour just deleting account requests that happen to be scammers. Some requests contain modified account activation tokens. I feel like i’m “yanking out the core”. But I take this as a good message for my followers.. Enjoy! — GK Pro Gaming () December 11, 2018
Venmo is an app that allows people to send each other money for a fee that is shared among the two parties involved. Like other payment apps, users can pay others with cash, point of sale cards, gift cards, gift cards to third parties, or select from other Venmo swipes, like Stars, Walk and Rides, Weather, Photos, Bookmarks, Events, No Page, and GIFs. Venmo has about 400 million users, making it the third most popular payment app in the world. The app’s ubiquity can also make it easy for users to be duped.
Of course, by linking to a bank account or credit card, Venmo is no different than any other payment service. Some users who have received this shady customer service reply may be able to take the initiative to report the credit card numbers for payment, but it’s really just a matter of increasing awareness.
. admin: LOL... Not sure this is a legitimate request, we've already looked into it, sorry you weren't able to make a direct connection with me but we'll be following up.
🤦🏻♂️ — Jackée Harry () December 6, 2018
“If you’re online and you don’t link to a bank account or credit card, you’re susceptible to attack,” Dan Levy, COO of North Carolina-based security firm Citadel told Women in Tech. “It’s easier for someone to send you a link that will download malware to your computer and they can gain access to the account without a password.” Levy went on to say that although Venmo users are probably wary of receiving a spam message on the app, it’s an easy way for them to “hide from the very public application and make it seem like they’re not having issues.”