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Venmo scams: Protecting yourself from fraudsters

By Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV | Posted - Jan. 20, 2021 at 8:32 a.m.



SALT LAKE CITY – An email has been circulating, supposedly from the popular money transfer app, Venmo, that asks users for personal information.

Sometimes, businesses do need to get ahold of us for legitimate reasons. At other times, it could be a fraudster sending a phished email, hoping to lure people into a scam – hook, line and sinker. So, how do you know which is which?

"She sent me an email saying that my account has been hacked," said Cameron Howell about his encounter with a criminal. "Then she said she was going to send me a verification text with the confirmation code on it and then they were going to go from there so I wouldn't lose my money."

Howell lost his hard-earned money to a scammer posing as a Venmo support representative.

"It's $1,200 that has just got taken straight out of my account," he said.

Folks who got an email currently making the round have cause to be suspicious. It asked receivers to confirm their personal information by a certain date, or they may lose access to the balance in their Venmo account.

Turns out, this email is no scam. A bona fide Venmo spokesperson said they're asking customers to complete their "Customer Identification Program" to verify their identity.

KSL TV asked Venmo why they're sending out these emails when phishing scams are abounding. Turns out, they must.

From December:

Venmo officials said the company is required by federal anti-money laundering laws to confirm customer identities to help prevent financial crimes. An arguably important rule, but one that certainly can backfire as crooks try to use it to snare victims like Howell, who said he's decided to just wash his hands of Venmo.

"Me, my friends – we've all deleted it. Family … just never going to touch Venmo again," he said.

Venmo officials said they are very aware of identity thieves using their name to try and rip people off, so it set up one easy way to make sure you're actually dealing with the company and not some fraudster.

First, don't give anyone information over the phone or by email or text. Venmo will ask you to update your personal information only inside the app itself. There is no reason to send it to anyone.

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Matt Gephardt
    Sloan Schrage

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