Better Business Bureau warns of Venmo ‘fake friend’ scam

That person may not really be your friend at all.


The next time you send your friend money on Venmo, you may not want to click send too fast.


According to the Better Business Bureau, that person may not really be your friend at all.

“We’re so quick to help and not check. But take a moment, take a breath,” said David Wheeler.

Wheeler is the Vice President of the BBB in Central Florida. He said there has been an uptick in fake friends scamming real people on Venmo by asking for money.

He said scammers are impersonating real accounts by grabbing people’s photos and changing the username a bit.

“Look at the name closely,” Wheeler said. “Make sure if it’s missing like a letter or has a number attached to it, it’s probably somebody that has stolen someone else’s identity on that cash app and you want to be real careful to not send them any money.”

To avoid being scammed, Wheeler said people should double-check a payment request from a friend by sending them a text message or calling them.

He said scammers are combing through people’s public Venmo feeds to see who they make frequent payments to and then targeting those people. For that reason, Wheeler said people should set their default payment settings to ‘private’ transactions instead of ‘public.’

Wheeler said people of all ages, young and old, are falling prey to the scam. So he has one more piece of advice:

“BBB recommends that with any type of transaction, try to use a credit card when possible. If you use a third-party app that’s connected to your bank account or a debit account, there’s possibly no way to recover that money. So with a credit card, you at least have a third layer of protection,” he said.