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Top 13 Venmo Scams to Avoid in 2024: Tips to Stay Safe

Last updated: April 18, 2024 21 min read
Top 13 Venmo Scams to Avoid in 2024 Tips to Stay Safe

Venmo is a popular platform that millions of US citizens rely on for their day-to-day spending. Due to its popularity, it has caught the attention of scammers. Continue reading to learn about the popular Venmo scams and how you can protect yourself while using the app.

Since the introduction of mobile payment apps, sending and receiving money without carrying cash around has become easier. Venmo is one such application. You can use the app to quickly transfer money to your friends or pay for an item you bought online without any stress.

Venmo Logo

Unfortunately, the convenience provided by this platform has made it a perfect spot for criminals to perform illicit acts. This is actually a major issue, as the only way a transfer can be reversed on Venmo is if the recipient grants permission, which a scammer won’t do.

In this article, we will expose the 13 most common Venmo scams that criminals use to get money from users in 2024. You will also find helpful tips to stay safe while using the app. Let’s dive in!

13 Popular Venmo Scams

Are you in a rush? Here’s a quick list of popular methods scammers use to approach people on Venmo:

What is Venmo?


Venmo is a popular cash transfer platform used only in the United States to send and receive money electronically. Its simple interface allows you to perform any transaction without giving your bank account details to a recipient.

Before you can start using the platform for any money transfer, you will have to link your bank account to the app. After that, you can exchange cash with other Venmo users freely. You can also transfer your Venmo balance to your bank account if you want to.

How is Venmo Used?

Secure Payments

Although Venmo started as a P2P (Peer-to-Peer) payment platform, many businesses and individuals now use it as an all-purpose money transfer app. Here are some of the situations you can use Venmo for:

  • To transfer cash to your friends and family
  • To purchase online products
  • To send gifts
  • To settle debts
  • To split bills
  • To donate money
  • To buy and sell cryptocurrency
  • To shop on authorized e-commerce apps and websites

Is it Safe to Use Venmo?


Venmo is a safe platform only if you use it to perform transactions with users you trust. It only becomes unsafe when you send money to strangers you have not verified.

The payment app has built-in security features that help to verify users’ identities and ensure your transactions are secure. However, this cannot stop a scammer from making a fake Venmo account for their deceptive act.

For sellers that are doing legitimate business, Venmo is perfect to use as a buyer can’t cancel an already made payment. The app is also safe for buyers, but there’s no guarantee that you will get your money back if you get scammed.

Here are some of the security features Venmo offers to its users:

  • Data encryption
  • Purchase Protection Program
  • Mandatory email and phone number verification
  • Two-factor authentication

Detailed List – Common Scams on Venmo to Avoid in 2024

Top 13 Venmo Scams to Avoid in 2024 Tips to Stay Safe

Typical Venmo frauds can take different forms, but the end goal is for the victims to lose the money in their accounts. While fraud styles are constantly evolving, the scams listed below are the most up-to-date today. All these ways are that can help people scam you on venmo.

1. Identity Theft Schemes

You can also refer to this as a friend-in-need scam. A determined scammer can steal your family or friend’s Venmo account and send you a message asking you to lend them money.


Once you transfer the money and discover that it wasn’t your friend who asked you for the money, it means that their identity has been stolen. These criminals steal people’s identities and use them to extract sensitive information and cash from their victims.

Using this method, the scammer does not need to break into your account to steal from you; it goes both ways. If they get their hands on certain information like a stolen credit card detail, employment history, or address, they can create a convincing persona online and use it to scam people who know you.

How Can You Avoid Identity Theft Schemes?

  • Do not overshare your personal information on any online platform, such as your address, birth date, or social security number.
  • Before sending money to the ‘friend,’ try contacting the person by video call to confirm that they are asking for the money.
  • Ask mutual friends if they got a similar message from the friend, especially if you feel like the message is out of character.

2. Phishing Scams

Phishing icon

Hackers can act like they are Venmo employees by sending an email asking you to send your details or payment information. If you click on the link in the email, it will lead you to a web page resembling the Venmo login page, but a hacker owns the website.

Once you enter your username and password, the scammer will automatically get this data and can gain access to your Venmo account.

How Can You Avoid Phishing Scams?

  • Thoroughly check the sender’s email domain; any email from Venmo always ends with Venmo.com.
  • Don’t open any attachments or links you find on suspicious emails to protect yourself from phishing attempts.

3. Paper Check Scams


This form of scam always involves the criminal sending you a fake check but asking you to send money to their Venmo account. Some may even contact you, saying that the check was an accident, but you can pay them back through Venmo to make things even. Convincing, right?

Most of the time, the amount sent through the check is usually larger than the money they request. After transferring the money, you will later discover that the check will bounce back.

How Can You Avoid Paper Check Scams?

  • Avoid any situation that involves you sending or receiving money on Venmo using paper checks.
  • As checks can get canceled easily by the sender without contacting you, never transfer any money to balance any check you receive accidentally.

4. Fake Buyer Scams


This scam is probably one of the major reasons Venmo discourages its users from using the app to transact with strangers.

For example, let’s say you sold your sneakers online, and a buyer paid you through Venmo. They can tell you they paid, but Venmo will hold the payment until you send the shipping information.

Most times, they may even send a fake screenshot that proves that they made the payment. Once you send the sneakers to the owner, you will most likely never get your money back. That means that you were scammed out of the item you supposedly sold.

How Can You Avoid Fake Buyer Scams?

  • Venmo has no feature that holds payment until you start shipping, so ignore such messages.
  • Never ship any item until you confirm the payment is already in your Venmo account.

5. Smishing Scams


Similar to phishing scams, the major difference is that smishing involves sending the message through texts. In this texting scam, the scammer will send you a convincing SMS that tries to trick you into exposing your Venmo login details.

The text message may even contain a URL that can infect your phone with spyware once you click on it. This spyware quietly monitors your device and can steal your Venmo login credentials when you next open the app.

How Can You Avoid Smishing Scams?

  • Don’t click on suspicious links you find on text messages from unknown phone numbers.

6. Romance Scams

A Venmo romance scam always involves the perpetrator contacting their target through a social media site, dating site, or other online platforms.

Romance Icon

They develop a romantic relationship with the person and even use fake pictures taken from the internet. With technology such as Deep Fake, the target can even jump on a video call with them without sensing any danger.

Once they’ve successfully convinced the target of their feelings, the scammer tells them that they have a problem, like being stranded in a foreign country or having their bank account blocked, and they need money urgently. They tell the victim to send them some cash through Venmo with the promise to pay them back.

As soon as this money is sent, the scammer will cut off all contact with the victim and transfer it from their Venmo account.

How Can You Avoid Romance Scams?

  • Avoid sending cash to any person you meet online. If someone doesn’t want to meet physically, that’s a big red flag.

7. The “Stranger on the Street” Scam

Street Icon

These scammers approach random people on the street, also known as their targets, and ask them to use their phones to make an emergency call. They may give a reason, such as their phone’s battery is dead or they left it at home.

Once they get a hold of the phone, they pretend that the person they are calling isn’t picking up and ask to send a text instead.

By allowing them to text, they can use this opportunity to open the Venmo app on your phone and transfer money to their account. If they are professionals, you may not even notice the loss until they are long gone.

How Can You Avoid the “Stranger on the Street” Scam?

  • Do not let a stranger handle your phone. If someone wants to use your phone, make the call yourself or ask them to dictate the message they wish to send.

8. The “Accidental Transfer” Scheme


In this case, Venmo scammers will use a stolen credit card to send money to you and contact you, saying it was a mistake. They will ask you to refund the money using their Venmo account.

You may wonder what the scam is here, seeing that you both received money. However, if Venmo detects that the money sent to your account was made using a stolen debit/credit card, the money will be instantly refunded to the card. The scammer will still have the money you sent.

How Can You Avoid the “Accidental Transfer” Scheme?

  • Unless you know the person, ignore any messages that claim an accidental transfer.
  • If you receive such messages, block the sender immediately or report the messages.

9. Fake Investment Scams


Nowadays, scammers use investment opportunities as a camouflage to engage in their dirty deeds. They create an opportunity that can help potential victims generate massive profits.

These scammers mostly target people who don’t know much about cryptocurrency and online trading and exaggerate the returns the victims can make with a small investment. Obviously, the returns never happen.

How Can You Avoid Fake Investment Scams?

  • Don’t believe any that claims an investment will bring a significant return or an exaggerated profit. Most times, it’s too good to be true.

10. Overpayment Scams


These scams follow a similar format to accidental money transfers. The attacker will use a stolen debit/credit card or a hacked Venmo account to transfer the money you requested (this kind of scam often occurs if you sell something as an online vendor).

The criminal will send more than you requested and will contact you, telling you to transfer the overpaid amount back. They may even send a fake receipt showing the amount they sent to you.

Once Venmo discovers that the payment received was from a stolen debit/credit card or hacked account, the money will be refunded. Unfortunately, by this time, the scammer has probably withdrawn the money you sent and may delete their Venmo account.

How Can You Avoid Overpayment Scams?

  • Check your account directly to confirm how much you received, and always check the sender’s email address.
  • Contact Venmo support to help you refund the money instead of sending money from your own account.

11. Onboarding Fee Scams


In this method, they post a job advert online. When someone applies for the position, they conduct a fake online interview. Without wasting much time, they name the person as the perfect candidate for the job.

However, the con artist further tells the candidate to transfer some money using Venmo to cover the onboarding cost.

They can say the money is to get them a computer for their home office or open an online workspace for them. The scammer will reassure the victim that they will get the money back by the month-end, probably through their salary. Once the payment is made, the scammer disappears.

How Can You Avoid Onboarding Fee Scams?

  • Don’t accept any job offer sent to you via text message. If the person contacts you using a messaging app and doesn’t provide a company email or website, it’s likely a scam.

12. Rental Deposit Scams

In this scam, the criminal posts a fake building for rent online and asks that you pay them beforehand to reserve the rental.

You won’t even have seen the house physically before they ask for the payment, but the scammer will have more convincing tales to tell to make their victim fall for their tricks.

How Can You Avoid Rental Deposit Scams?

  • Ensure you view a property physically and see the building contract before paying for anything.

13. Purchase Scams

Defend Yourself Against Hacking Attempts

You need to be on the lookout for this scam, especially when you are shopping online. In this case, the scammer will post an item on a legitimate website like eBay and ask that payment be made through Venmo.

Once you pay for the item, you will never hear from them again. Some funny ones may even ship an empty package to you just for jokes. It is another form of the Venmo payment scams.

How Can You Avoid Purchase Scams?

  • When buying an item from websites like Etsy or eBay, make payment only through the platform, as it offers fraud protection.
  • You can use Venmo only if it’s part of the payment option available on the site.

How Can I Spot Venmo Scams?

Scam Icon

You may notice some signs in the style and language of a scammer’s message if you carefully read them. Here are a few things you may see in Venmo scammer emails or texts:

  • Request for your information: Sometimes, these scammers may ask you to provide sensitive information like your credit/debit card details and give an absurd reason why you must do so. However, as long as you transact on Venmo, no stranger really needs to know your personal details.
  • Suspicious links: If anyone sends you an unrequested link or an overly long URL with a foreign domain, you should not click on it. This is a dead giveaway of a scam attempt.
  • Grammatical and spelling errors: Some of these scammers are not native English speakers, so they may misspell some of their words or have grammar errors.
  • Sense of urgency: The messages sent by this scammer always tend to pressure the recipient to act fast and seal a deal, or it will be gone forever. Ignore such messages.
  • Unsolicited communication: Any message from a stranger asking you to pay for or participate in an offer you didn’t request should be ignored.

How Can I Stay Safe on Venmo?


When using any online payment and banking platform, you need to stay alert and take precautions to prevent you from falling for criminals’ tricks.

It’s advisable that you double-check every transfer you want to make. Here are some extra steps you can take to help you stay safe:

  • Don’t interact with strangers: If a person you don’t know or haven’t heard of contacts you, you need to be careful before initiating any transaction with them. Even if they know some of your personal information, do your best to ignore them, as this is part of their trick to make you think they are genuine.
  • Avoid transferring cash to people you don’t know: It’s best to use the Venmo app to transfer money to people in your social circle, including your family and close friends. If you are unfamiliar with someone, don’t transact with them.
  • Never give your phone to a stranger: As you can’t easily know a person’s intention, it’s best that you don’t hand your phone over to someone you don’t know. It only takes seconds for someone to open the Venmo app on your phone and transfer the money to their account.
  • Avoid using Venmo for business payments: If you want to receive payment for your product, we advise that you use your bank details for the transaction. That way, you can easily track the recipient if they happen to be a scammer.
  • If you notice someone sending you suspicious messages or links, speak to the Venmo support team as soon as possible.

What Can I Do if I Get Scammed on Venmo?


Even if you follow all the safety measures, it’s still possible to fall victim to a Venmo scam. Here’s what you can do if this happens:

  • Contact Venmo support: The first thing you should do is report the scam to the Venmo support team. In your report, make sure you include screenshots of the scammers’ texts and profiles.
  • Contact your financial institution: If the scammer knows your credit/debit card or bank details, you must contact your bank instantly. That way, they can place a temporary hold on the affected accounts.
  • Report to the FTC: The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has an online form that you can fill out to report a scam. Although this won’t help you get your money back, it can help open an investigation on Venmo, as these scammers attack many victims simultaneously.
  • Change your password: To prevent anyone from gaining access to your account, ensure you change your Venmo password to a stronger one. Incorporate uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols to make your password harder to crack. Use ExtremeVPN’s password generator to help you create strong passwords for your accounts.

How to Enhance Your Device Security?


You can follow the steps below to secure your phones:

  • Get a VPN: A VPN is a powerful technology that encrypts your online data and masks your IP address, ensuring that no hacker or snooper can gain access. Connecting to a high-quality VPN like ExtremeVPN online can save you a lot of trouble, especially if you are using public Wi-Fi. ExtremeVPN is a trustworthy service built with industry-leading security encryption that ensures no intruder can access your sensitive information.
  • Use a strong password: Passwords like 0000 or good are weak and can be cracked in milliseconds. When creating a password, ensure that it consists of a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. If you can’t make one like this, you can use ExtremeVPN’s password generator to get one for you.
  • Implement two-factor authentication(2FA): 2FA is a vital step that adds an extra layer of security to your Venmo account. That way, if someone tries accessing your account from a different phone, you will receive an email or SMS telling you to confirm your identity.


Online thieves and hackers are willing to do anything to get their hands on the money available on your Venmo account. They use various tricks to convince you to send money to them, either by pretending to be someone you know or impersonating a Venmo worker.

As the saying goes, Knowledge is Power. You can never go wrong with learning about the ways these scammers work and how you can stay safe while using the Venmo platform. However, these scammers are innovative and tend to pick up new tricks to get their way, so you must remain vigilant.

At the end of the day, you have to make sure that the person you are transferring money to is someone you know and can trust. If possible, confirm the person’s identity through various means, like making a call, as these scammers can impersonate your closest friends.

Remember that while Venmo is easy to use to send and receive money, it’s very hard to get a refund. Always use a high-quality VPN such as ExtremeVPN to ensure your device’s safety.

Also read: 13 Popular Cash App Scams to Know and How to Avoid Them.


Can I give someone my Venmo username? Up
Even though Venmo is a relatively safe site to use, we advise against giving your username to someone you don’t know, as it could be used to scam you.
Is it safe to use Venmo with a stranger? Up
Venmo was initially designed as a platform to exchange money between close friends and family, so using it with a stranger defeats its purpose. You should be careful when interacting with anyone on Venmo or even familiar faces because some Venmo scammers disguise themselves as someone you know.
Will Venmo refund my money if I get scammed? Up
Venmo fraud protection is not foolproof. If you paid to a personal account, you won’t be refunded. Only transactions made through authorized charity or business accounts can get reimbursed.
Can I Venmo myself? Up
This is only possible if you have more than one Venmo account, each of which should be linked to a separate bank account. However, you are only allowed to open one personal account on Venmo.
Will Venmo ask for my social security number? Up
There are specific situations where Venmo asks for your SSN. Examples of such a situation include transferring more than $300 in a week, sending $1000 or more to your bank account in a week, creating a group account, or being a sole proprietor of a business account that processes more than 200 transactions in one calendar year.

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