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Seller Beware: Use Venmo Money Transfer App At Your Risk

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Seller Beware: Use VENMO Money Transfer App At Your Risk

Venmo, a money transfer app which allows people to send or receive payment by linking to a bank account or credit card, has become very popular these days. But financial experts warn sellers to use this app at their own risk. On Friday, they advised users to make sure they know who they are dealing with before using this app.

Scott MacFarlane, in a report that was published on February 8, says that a number of users of this app confirmed to News4 I-Team that they got ripped off when selling their items online to strangers.

For instance, Alex Wilburn who was selling his used 2001 Acura TL reported that an alleged client who responded to his ad on Craigslist sent him $1,800 through Venmo app even before linking up with him to test drive his car in Washington, D.C.

"This man was very serious to purchase my used car, and we met at the mall. The way this app works you transfer if a client sends you money, you will see it in your bank account or credit card and you think it will stay there forever,” Alex said.

Alex said that he signed the car’s title over to this alleged client and even assisted him to replace the license plates at the Department of Motor Vehicles. But some few hours later, Alex got a surprise of the decade. He got an email from Venmo admins saying that the payment processing had been stopped.

“I saw the dollars in the app’s account reversed and sent back to the said client. Yeah, of course, I couldn't believe it." Alex said.

Other Venmo users around the country have also told News4 I-Team a similar story on how they were ripped off when selling their items online to strangers. Another good example is the story of Nick from New York City who sells phones online.

"The man asked me to meet him along one street in Manhattan. This man promised that he would only pay the total amount for the iPhone I was selling via Venmo," Nick explained.

Nick confirmed to I-Team that he saw the guy transfer a total of $5,400 into his bank account right there on the street.

"The money came to my bank account and the transaction said that it was successful. So I transferred it in front of him into my bank account," Nick said.

But the next day Nicks too got an email from Venmo admins saying that the transaction was cancelled.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently publishing a warning on its site about scammers using Venmo.

"These apps are breeding grounds for scammers all over. They find something that is very popular among users and use it to scam its unsuspecting users,” said Kelsey Owen of the BBB.

Kelsey also told the News4 I-Team that those who want to use this money transfer app should treat as a check.

Venmo spokesman, Mr John Criscoe, told the I-Team that they have not put in place buyer or seller protection for users using this app. John said the app is designed for use by friends and people who trust each other.

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