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Scam Alert: This Venmo Scam Sends You Money “by Accident”

If you use Venmo or another digital wallet service, be careful. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), crooks are putting a high-tech twist on a classic con.

How it works

You receive a message in Venmo that reads something like,  “Oops! Can you send that back?” Upon reviewing your balance history, you see that someone you don’t know just sent you hundreds of dollars by mistake. The scam occurs when you return the money. Don’t do it.

Scammers link stolen credit cards to Venmo. They use them to transfer money to unknowing users. If money is sent back to the scammer, they will remove the stolen credit card from their account and add their own card in its place. Then, the money they will go to their personal card. Eventually, the stolen funds will be removed from the unsuspecting user’s account, and they will lose that money.

Unlike credit cards, many digital wallet vendors—PayPal, Zelle and Apple Pay for example—will not cover the cost of fraud. If you pay crooks using a digital wallet, you may never get reimbursed.

Protect yourself

Follow these tips to keep your finances safe when using a money transfer app:

  • Friends and family: Only send money to people you know personally.
  • Cancel: If you receive money by mistake, ask the sender to cancel the transaction. If they refuse, it’s likely a scam.
  • Additional security: Check your account settings to see if additional security measures are available, such as multi-factor authentication, use of a PIN or fingerprint recognition.
  • Link your app to a credit card: Using a credit card will help protect you if you don’t get the product(s) for which you paid.

Learn more about staying safe when using peer-to-peer payment systems in this BBB.org article. For more information, contact our Columbus personal injury lawyers.