Venmo has made transferring cash more convenient than ever, but some scammers are using the app to steal your money.
Have you received emails or texts from Venmo saying you’ll get free money or gifts after completing a survey? That’s probably a scam.
We reviewed the latest news on Venmo survey scams to know the latest tactics. We also looked into official Venmo sources to understand how it protects users against scams and gathered the best tips on how to keep your Venmo account safe from scammers.
In the end, we share a unique tip that can help you keep your Venmo account safe from scammers. So don’t skip reading to avoid doing all the wrong things when using Venmo, compromising your information and making you vulnerable to fraud and identity theft.
What is a Venmo survey scam?
Hackers have developed a new version of the Venmo phishing scam involving fake surveys.
If you’re still wondering, “Is the Venmo survey legit?” We’ll tell you the tactics fraudsters use, so you can tell if it’s a scam.
One of the victims spoke to WCNC-TV to tell her story. According to her, she received a text from an unknown number. The $100 offer enticed her, so she clicked the link. Here are the contents of the message:
“Dear Venmo User: You have been selected to receive a free gift worth at least $100 for a 2 minute survey [link]”
The local news channel reported that scammers usually target those who are unemployed or in the middle of a job transition. Like the woman who shared her experience, people who don’t have a stable source of income are easily deceived by promises of free money.
Keylen Villagrana of Better Business Bureau spoke to The Denver Channel, warning the public about the Venmo paid survey scam. It has a slightly different message compared to the fraud reported by WCNC.
According to her, scammers may also send a text: “You’ve been using Venmo frequently, so we’d love for you to take this survey, and we’ll send you a $50 to $100 gift card.”
It also contains a blue link without any mention of “Venmo.” Here are other links used by scammers:
- twinbessay(dot) com
So how do scammers use the link to commit identity theft?
Once you click the link, scammers are one step away from knowing your personal and financial information. They may also hack your device using a malicious link.
Scammers may ask about your:
- Venmo username and password
- Full name and home address
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Phone number
Such details allow fraudsters to use your identity for their fraudulent acts.
But does Venmo give free money? It does, but not like the scammers’ offer, which amounts to hundreds of dollars. Venmo only gives away $10 when you sign up using a referral link and send $5 to any Venmo user.
Anyone who promises to give you hundreds of dollars via the Venmo app is definitely a scammer.
Here are the effects of being a victim of Venmo survey scams:
- Scammers can access your online transactions, including your latest purchases, usernames, passwords, and bank and credit card details.
- If you provide personal information, such as name, phone number, SSN, home address, and email address, they can use such details to commit identity theft.
- They can apply for loans under your name, withdraw your Venmo balance, max out your credit card, and get your federal benefits.
- In case you transfer funds for a larger amount of money, it will be difficult to get it back.
- Scammers can also infect your device with viruses, malware, and spyware, making it unsafe to use.
But it’s not enough to know how the Venmo survey scam works. More importantly, you should also know how to protect yourself, which we’ll discuss next.
How to avoid Venmo scams?
Fraudsters use Venmo winners scams and other techniques to steal your identity and money. Despite their evolving tactics, you can still protect yourself from it.
- Don’t provide your Venmo username and password outside the Venmo website and app.
- Never click a link sent by someone pretending to be affiliated with Venmo. It most likely redirects to a phishing website.
- Don’t give your credit card or bank details, SSN, phone number, and other sensitive information to any company asking for it through text. Legitimate companies will never request confidential data through text messages.
- If you want to verify whether the message came from Venmo, call the official contact number at (855) 812-4430.
- The unique tip that can help keep your Venmo account safe is to enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Venmo will send a text or email to confirm your identity when someone tries to access your account.
- Update your devices to protect them against hackers who want to take advantage of their vulnerabilities.
You can set up a defense against scammers when you follow the tips above.
What should you do if you think you’ve been scammed?
Once you discover you’ve been a victim of Venmo scams, take the following steps immediately:
- You can report a Venmo scammer by taking a screenshot of the text message with the phone number, then emailing it to. You can also forward the website to “[email protected]”.
- Get credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to look for any suspicious activity.
- Report to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), so you won’t be held liable for fraudulent transactions under your name.
- Monitor your credit card statements for unusual transactions.
Will Venmo refund money if you were scammed?
You should try asking for a refund, but Venmo decides on a case-by-case basis. If someone stole your account details, Venmo might approve your request. However, if you send money to a stranger, then it’s unlikely that the company will give your money back.
What are other Venmo scams?
Unfortunately, fraudsters carry out other techniques to deceive Venmo users. Here are some of them:
1. Fake prizes and rewards
There’s a scam that offers Venmo users free gifts, but instead of answering a survey, you need to pay a shipping fee and give your credit card details. The message also contains a link that redirects you to phishing websites.
Venmo users also ask, “Is the $1000 Venmo gift card real?” It’s not a legitimate gift, and here’s how the scam works:
- You’ll receive a text message saying you’re one of the lucky winners because of your loyalty to Venmo.
- Once you visit the website, scammers will instruct you to select a gift box.
- After choosing a gift, the website will inform you that you got the $1000 Venmo gift card. You must click a button to claim it.
- However, by this time, scammers already have access to your browsing history and personal information.
Don’t let hackers access your data by being wary of messages claiming you’ve won a prize.
2. Fake sales
Sellers and business owners can also get scammed on Venmo. Here’s how the scam works: someone orders your product and then pays through Venmo. Once you ship the item, the scammer will ask Venmo to reverse the payment. As a result, the fraudster steals your merchandise, leaving you without income.
That’s why you must only use Venmo to send and receive cash from friends and family members. Never use the platform to accept payment from strangers.
3. Strangers ask to use your phone
Fox News reported the story of Rob Gilliam, who was scammed out of more than $4,000 on Venmo. He lent his phone to a man because the latter said he needed to call his sister due to an emergency.
However, the man used Venmo to send almost $4,500 to his own account. Gilliam only discovered the incident days after it happened.
Here’s a lesson you can learn from the incident above: never lend your phone to a stranger. You can offer to contact someone, such as the police, if there’s an emergency.
Is Venmo safe?
Like all digital wallets, scammers may use Venmo to steal money or personal information. They might trick you into completing a fake survey or send a shipping fee.
Despite these tactics, you can still avoid Venmo scams by enabling two-factor authentication and updating your devices. Lastly, we recommend you not to click suspicious links and never provide personal information through text.