Before you send anyone money on Venmo, make sure you know exactly who you’re sending that money to. The Better Business Bureau says it is seeing an uptick in the "fake friend scam."
How does it work? Scammers comb through your Venmo, looking for the people you pay often. Maybe it's a roommate who split the monthly bills with? The scammer will then recreate that person’s account by copying the profile picture and changing the account name by switching a number or letter. You don’t see it, but the next time you go to pay, you’re paying the wrong person.
What can you do about it?
- When you want to pay someone, reach out to them to make sure you've got the exact right Venmo account, down to the letter and number.
- If someone requests money from you, do the same thing. Call them and make sure it’s really them.
- If you’re the person that needs to get paid, send the person your account’s QR code. Just tap on your profile and the little QR code button at the top. The app lets you email or text it to the person you need money from.
- Finally, make sure your transactions are set to private. The world doesn’t need to know who you’re paying! Before you hit the “pay” button on each transaction, right above that, it will show you who can see that payment. Make sure it's set to "private."