Don’t Refund Money Someone “accidentally” Sent You on Venmo
Venmo is an easy way to send money to friends, family, and the guy who runs a fantasy football league. But what if you received a Venmo notification saying you received money from someone you don’t know and didn’t expect? Most likely, this is not an accident or luck: this is a scam.
The practice of sending money “accidentally” – and then asking for it back in an apologetic and somewhat insane tone – is a scam that gets around not only Venmo but other similar payment apps like Zelle, PayPal or Apple. To pay. This is a scam that profits from the kindness and gullibility of people.
How does the “accidentally” money sending scam work?
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scammers buy stolen credit cards on the dark web and connect them to the payment app of their choice . They then start sending money to random people “accidentally” and keep texting them asking for their money back, saying it was sent by mistake. Fraudsters change stolen credit cards from payment applications and connect their personal cards instead and wait for victims to return “clean” (not stolen) money to them.
If you are part of the group that sent the money back, you didn’t actually send them the same, say, $500 from stolen credit cards. The money you send is from your account. Eventually, payment apps will catch on to stolen credit card scams because the original cardholders from the dark web will report their cards stolen and they are backed by their bank. The stolen funds will eventually be removed from your account (because that’s where they ended up), leaving you $500 poorer and the scammer $500 richer.
Unlike credit cards, many digital payment apps are not liable for fraud. This responsibility remains with you. Most of this scam process is automated , so the scammers make a lot of money with very little effort, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
What to do and what not to do if someone sends you money “accidentally”?
Never send money to anyone you don’t know in any payment app, unless it’s a friend or family member, or your payment app offers fraud protection, such as PayPal products and services . If someone did send you money by mistake, they can contact the payment app and dispute it. But leave the money in question in your account with the expectation that it will eventually be deleted. You don’t have to worry about your account getting hacked or vulnerable just because someone sent you or asked you for money. What you can do is contact your payment app’s support team and they should be able to cancel a payment sent to you without the risk of being scammed.
Below are the BBB’s recommendations on how to protect yourself from payment application scams :
- Use money transfers with friends : Protect yourself from scams by using money transfer apps only for their intended purpose – sending money to people you know personally.
- If someone sends you money by mistake, ask them to cancel the transaction : The sender may require the seller to cancel the transaction. If a person refuses, it is probably a scam.
- Enable advanced security options . Check your account settings to see if you can enable additional security measures such as multi-factor authentication, a PIN code request, or the use of fingerprint recognition.
- Link your money transfer app to a credit card. As with many other purchases, using a credit card will help protect you if you don’t receive the goods or services you paid for. Linking to a debit card or directly to your bank account does not give you that extra protection.
What to do if you sent money back to a scammer?
If you sent money to a scammer, it’s almost impossible to get it back unless your credit card is connected to a payment app. In this case, you can contact your bank and let them know about the fraudulent transaction and they should be able to help you.