Random payments received on Venmo?
January 3, 2019 9:20 AM   Subscribe

This morning I have received two $5 payments on Venmo from strangers. What should I do?

I figure this is some kind of scam -- the money isn't "real," they will somehow contact me for a refund, and if I send the money "back" to them, I will lose the money because it wasn't real in the first place (or something like that). Right now I plan to do nothing. Is that the right plan? Should I worry that I have been "targeted" for this -- or is it a new commonplace thing?
posted by Mid to Technology (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It is possible that your venmo name is like someone else's? I find the interface really difficult. And when someone tells me verbally "Krissy, with a K, dash, Smith" the likelihood of me messing it up is high.
posted by k8t at 9:52 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]

Most likely this is just a mis-payment. Can you look at the 2 accounts and see if they know each other? A couple of same-amount payments from multiple people is usually a group splitting something and venmoing at the same time.

As far as the money not being "real" - the way I understand it, Venmo money is instantly available.
If you send the money back and they later claim you didn't, they would have to go through Venmo customer service and it would clearly show that you returned it. Here's Venmo FAQ on this situation:

What do I do if I receive a payment from a stranger?

If you receive a payment from someone that you don't know, you can simply send the payment back to the other user with a note explaining that they paid the wrong person. As long as you didn't transfer the payment to your bank or use the funds from the accidental payment, the payment will be coming from your Venmo balance, and none of your funding sources will be charged.

In the future, you can block another user by going to their Venmo profile, touching the three dots in the top righthand corner, and selecting "Block" to prevent this situation from occurring again.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:01 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]

As far as the money not being "real" - the way I understand it, Venmo money is instantly available.

Apparently this isn't true:

Venmo Scams

> When you receive a payment, it looks as if the transaction is complete: The money appears in your Venmo account instantly, and you might even be able to use the funds. However, that money is only made available under the assumption that everything is fine.

> If it turns out that there’s a problem, the payment will be reversed, and you’re responsible for that money. If you haven’t used the funds, Venmo will take the money back. If you already spent the money, you’ll need to replace it.

Although for scams, this is often done for a sum like $200 to make it worth their while. Or the person sending the money asks you to forward it to a different account (as the first account was hacked and you're laundering it for them.) So this feels like it might be a mistake. I'd just sit on the money, make sure your account is set to private instead of public, make sure your password is good (new, unique, complicated), and not worry about it unless you hear from them.
posted by bluecore at 10:17 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]

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