What is the Venmo Scam on Facebook Marketplace?
Identity theft is rampant in online marketplaces, and the Facebook Marketplace is no exception. Scammers are taking over legitimate user accounts to add authenticity to their scams.
Paying with instant transaction services is the easiest payment method. There are a lot of well-known peer-to-peer money transfer services like Venmo that are used on the Facebook Marketplace. But they bring some potential danger to their users.
In this article, we’ll talk about the most common Venmo scams and how to prevent them.
The “buyer” on the Facebook Marketplace requests to pay using Venmo. If the seller agrees, payment comes in several installments costing less than $100. Naturally, the seller doesn’t suspect the buyer once the money starts coming in.
But as these transactions are irreversible, they’re ideal for a variety of scams. If you’re selling something on the Facebook Marketplace, beware of possible scammers posing as interested buyers. To avoid becoming a victim of the same malicious practices, you need to educate yourself about the tricks used on Venmo.
Selling Something to a Complete Stranger
Always double-check who you’re selling to on Venmo. Con artists might ask you to supply goods or services without making a legitimate payment. They may send you screenshots of faked emails or use stolen bank account or credit card information. They could also claim to have sent you a payment that won’t go through to your Venmo account until you send the item and post the shipping instructions.
Overpaying for a Product
A common Facebook Marketplace scam involves the buyer sending the seller a fake check for a sum greater than the transaction’s final price. For instance, they send you $250 even though the goods you’re selling only cost $200. The con artists claim that this is an error or that the money is for shipping. They will then try to convince the seller to use Venmo to refund this overpayment. If the seller falls for it, they’ll send the con artists money, only to have the first check bounce.
A Business Account Upgrade
When buying something from you, a con artist may ask for payment via Venmo. After obtaining your email address, they’ll send you a fake reply, impersonating the payment platform.
The email informs the recipient that the buyer used a business account to send the payment. Therefore, the buyer should pay an extra fee to receive payment. They then request that you upgrade your account and pay back the customer for the alleged upgrade fee. Of course, you’re motivated to complete this as soon as possible to receive the upcoming payment.
Additionally, the scam email will put pressure on the seller to send the money right away. Many people make the error of not verifying the email’s authenticity.
When the seller returns the excess funds, they realize the scammer never sent any money. Unfortunately, the con artist had disappeared by that point.
There are various ways you can avoid scams on Venmo:
- Never trust someone willing to overpay you. Buyers who offer you more than your asking price should be a cause of concern unless your item is rare and in demand. If someone sends you more money than you requested, take that as a warning sign.
- Double-check email addresses. Verify the email address if you believe you have received a message from Venmo or another payment app. Scammers use fake email addresses that resemble legitimate ones.
- Learn the terms and conditions of payment apps before using them. If someone says you need a business account to accept payments, you can confirm this by visiting the app’s official website or getting in touch with customer service. To deceive their victims, scammers often create fake insurance policies.
- Inform Facebook Marketplace about scams. Report a seller who attempts to commit fraud. Your report may serve as a safeguard for other gullible sellers.
- Limit your transactions to people you know and trust. Always double-check a person’s profile or get in touch with them to find out if a strange request you received from someone is legitimate.
- Do not click on links in emails or texts that you receive out of the blue. These links are usually scams.
- Never enter your Venmo login details anywhere other than on Venmo.com and the Venmo app. You might end up typing your login information into a third-party app that will steal your personal information.
- Do not share Venmo account information on social media, except for official Venmo accounts.
You’ve been scammed: What now?
• If you believe you’re the victim of a Venmo scam, you should notify Venmo Security Support right away. Stop communicating with the scammer.
• You need to change the password for your Venmo account.
• You should also take precautions to secure your other accounts. Choose a special password with 12 characters or more. Use a different password for every account. Store all your passwords on a password manager.
• Invest in a secure phone to avoid future security issues.
Can I get my money back?
If you fall victim to a scam, you’ll want to get your money back as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to cancel a payment made to an existing Venmo account, whether part of a scam or not. The usual practice is to send a return request to the account you sent money to, then wait for them to reimburse you. Venmo Support can only undo a payment if the recipient agrees, if their account is in good standing, and if the money is still available. The payment can’t be reversed by Venmo Support at the sender’s request.
Stay Safe and Aware
Venmo allows friends and family to send money to each other. Its accounts are not intended to be a small business online payment solution. But you can still have a great time shopping on the Facebook Marketplace with the practical payment service offered by Venmo. That is, of course, assuming you’re aware of the tricks that scammers use to defraud you. Before making an irreversible decision to send money to a potential scammer, check with your bank or the Venmo app.
Do you believe you have been the victim of a Facebook Marketplace scam? What did you do about it? Let us know in the comments section below.