September 27, 2023

Venmo text scams: Avoid these common tricks

Venmo text scams: Avoid these common tricks

Scam text messages, which are smishing attacks designed to steal personal information and infect victims’ devices with malware, are the United States’ top threat in terms of phone scams. Text scammers stole an estimated $13 billion from Americans in the first half of 2023, and their ploys become more prevalent and sophisticated every year. One common method they use is to impersonate payment apps like Venmo.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from the financial loss and mental trauma that can accompany scams like these. Read ahead to learn what Venmo text scams are and how you can avoid their tricks.

What is a Venmo text scam?

Venmo text scams are fraudulent text messages sent by scammers who disguise themselves as Venmo in an effort to steal your information or download malware onto your mobile device. They may claim there’s an account problem that needs to be fixed or a reward you can accept by following a link and inputting your information. In reality, your data goes right to the scammers, and the link may have downloaded malware to your device.

Venmo scams are especially dangerous because they target your money directly. Scammers may also use your information to break into other accounts, open new lines of credit, or steal your identity.

The impact of Venmo scams

Scam texts have become the most dangerous type of phone scam, and those involving payment apps have become increasingly common. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we pay, and as contactless payment became more popular, scammers found a way to profit. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), victims of Venmo scams lose $700 on average (second to Zelle scams), making Venmo one of the top targets for scammers who pose as payment apps.

Venmo text scams can cost victims significant amounts of money, which can prevent families from paying their bills or putting food on the table. These scams can also have a psychological impact, as the invasion of privacy can be extremely unsettling, even if no money was lost. As government agencies continue to devise a solution, they warn the public about prevalent scams and encourage extra caution when using payment apps.

Common types of Venmo text scams

Venmo text scams take many different forms, and recognizing them is vital to protecting your privacy, security, and finances. Get to know these common types of Venmo text message scams so you know what to watch out for.

Smishing scams

Text messages pretending to be Venmo

Venmo text scams involve scammers disguising themselves as Venmo in some capacity. Venmo sends text messages from the short code 86753, but savvy scammers spoof this number to convince targets the message is legitimate. Texting from what looks like the real short code, scammers use all kinds of tactics to elicit personal information they can sell or use to steal from their victims. The real Venmo will never ask for sensitive data via text.

Fake survey scam

In a fake survey scam, the fraudster sends a text asking you to fill out a survey for the chance (or guarantee) to win money. The text includes a link that sends you to a spoofed version of the Venmo website and requests login credentials, credit card details, and other sensitive information. Hackers can use this information to access not only your Venmo account but possibly your other financial accounts as well.

Payment scams

Fake prize or cash 

If you receive a text claiming you’ve won a contest, giveaway, or sweepstake, your first thought should always be, “Did I enter one?” If you didn’t enter to win, you definitely didn’t win. Scammers might claim you’ve won a prize for being a longtime Venmo user or winning a random giveaway, including a link where you can supposedly log in and accept your prize. These prizes don’t exist, and the link either sends you to a spoofed website or downloads malware to your device.

Texts offering to make money fast

Watch out for any offers that sound too good to be true because they generally are. If you respond, you could end up losing much more than you thought you were gaining. Some Venmo scam texts are classic pyramid schemes, inviting you to spend a small amount of money to get a larger sum back, usually through an investment or a loan. Unfortunately, there is no return payment, and the scammer steals your financial information.

Unclaimed money

It can be easy to forget about your Venmo balance when you regularly use several different financial accounts, but the balance reflected in your app is generally accurate. Scammers might text you about unclaimed money in your account, instructing you to follow the link to confirm the transaction. However, this is not something Venmo will ever do. If you’re concerned your balance is inaccurate or a transaction hasn’t gone through, contact Venmo directly.

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Middleman scams

Impersonator sends or requests money

Some particularly crafty scammers research targets and their social circles. If you receive an unexpected Venmo payment or request from someone you know, always check with them to make sure they sent it. It could be a scammer who changed their name and picture to match a family member’s account, posing as someone with whom you regularly exchange money. 

Payments from unknown users 

In other cases, you may get Venmo payments from strangers who don’t disguise themselves as family. Instead, they pretend the payment was an accident and ask you to send the money back. If this happens, contact Venmo directly instead of engaging in a transaction with a stranger. This could be part of a larger scam in which the scammer pays you using a stolen credit card, effectively stealing from two targets at once.

Login scams

Venmo sign-in detected text scam

This type of Venmo fraud pretends your account has had unusual sign-in activity, like too many sign-in attempts or a login from an unusual location or new device. Like in tech-support scams, the scammer texts you a link and tells you to input your credentials to reset your password or otherwise verify your account. Instead, the information you type in goes right to the scammer.

How to identify Venmo text scams

There are a few reasons Venmo might contact you through text message or email, such as to confirm your account, send you receipts, and update you on new comments or friend requests — all of which you have to sign up for. They will never ask for personal or financial information like your login credentials, bank account number, or PIN through text or email.

If you have text notifications on, you’ll get automated text messages from Venmo for things like:

  • Sent and received payments
  • Charge requests
  • Direct deposits and transfers
  • Friend requests and comments

Recognizing a Venmo scam text

When you know how to recognize a Venmo scam text, you’re much less likely to fall for the scam. Learn about the common red flags that appear among all kinds of scam texts and catch them before they can trick you.

Verifying the sender

Venmo contacts its users via the short code 86753 or email addresses that end in, but even short codes can be spoofed by scammers. Never use Venmo to send money to — or even accept money from — someone you don’t know.

Analyzing the content

As long as you know what to look for and take your time, you can generally recognize a scam text by analyzing the content. Look for strange or foreign characters (like â, ę, œ) in the body of the text and hyphens in links. Consider whether the alert makes sense given your recent financial history, and use the Venmo app to check if you’re signed up for text message notifications.

Spelling and grammatical errors

Like other types of phone scams, Venmo scam texts often come from foreign senders whose first language isn’t English. These types of scam texts may contain spelling and grammar errors you wouldn’t see in a legitimate text from a well-known American company like Venmo.

Contact Venmo directly

If you’ve received a suspicious text that claims to be from Venmo, don’t wait to let them know. Contact Venmo through the app or another legitimate channel before responding to the text, and never click the link in an unexpected text message unless you’ve confirmed that you know and trust the sender.

Spotting unrealistic requests or threats

Many Venmo scam texts are easy to spot because they are simply not how Venmo operates.

Requests for personal or payment information

Venmo does not ask for personal or payment information via text message. If you get a text that claims to be from Venmo and asks for sensitive data such as your Social Security number, debit card information, or PIN, you should delete and report the text as well as block the sender.

Threats to cancel or suspend your account

Under no circumstances will you get a legitimate text message from Venmo that threatens to cancel or suspend your account. These are tactics scammers use to create a sense of urgency and encourage you to act quickly before you realize you’re being scammed.

What to do if you receive a Venmo scam text

Anyone might receive a Venmo scam text, even those who don’t use Venmo. If you receive a suspicious text that claims to be from Venmo, taking the right steps can save you from the financial loss and psychological damage associated with scam texts.

Here’s what to do if you receive a Venmo scam text:

  • Avoid clicking any links. A suspicious link could send you to a fake website where your information will be stolen, or worse: It could download malware onto your device and give scammers access to your data and apps. Never click the links in texts from unknown numbers.
  • Confirm communications with Venmo directly. If you get a text that claims to be from Venmo, reach out to their customer service team and ask if they’ve tried to contact you. Chances are good it was a scam, so you can report it while you’re at it.
  • Don’t provide personal or sensitive information. Venmo scam texts are smishing attacks that attempt to steal your personal data, which scammers sell on the dark web or use to hack into your other accounts. If someone posing as Venmo asks for private information, report and block the number.
  • Report the scam. There are several ways you can report a scam text to the authorities: Notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), or forward the message to 7726 (SPAM).
  • Delete the message. Don’t wait to delete scam and spam texts from your phone — if you keep them in your messaging app, you might accidentally tap a malicious link. You can also report the message as junk when you delete it.
  • Call your bank. Scammers use your personal information to get into your financial accounts and steal your money. If you think you’ve fallen for a Venmo scam text, contact your bank immediately. They can help you determine if you should close your accounts and open new ones.
  • Contact the authorities. Venmo text scams are a form of fraud, which is a crime. Getting your money back is never guaranteed, but the sooner you contact local law enforcement, the better your chances of getting justice.

How do scammers get your information?

Some of our private information tends to be less private than we think, and there are a number of ways scammers can get hold of it. They may purchase stolen data on the dark web, dial phone numbers at random, or scour the Internet for details about their targets. Avoid listing data like email addresses and phone numbers on social media profiles, and never give away personal information to those you don’t know and trust — especially via text message.

Preventing Venmo scams

As dangerous as Venmo scam calls and texts can be, there are ways you can help keep scammers off your phone and your phone number off their radar.

  • Secure your Venmo account. Don’t tell people your Venmo username or show them your QR code unless you know and trust them.
  • Update your passwords regularly. Changing your password on a regular basis is a great way to prevent hacking and thwart any scammers who might already have your information.
  • Don’t offer information outside of Venmo’s official channels. Venmo will never ask for personal information via text message, email, or phone call.
  • Limit public transactions. Make your Venmo profile private so scammers can’t pick up on what you buy or who you exchange money with.
  • Verify the payment recipient. Never send money to someone you don’t know and trust.
  • Don’t reply to suspicious Venmo scam texts. Simply replying to a scam text tells the scammer that your phone number is active, so report, delete, and block Venmo scam texts without responding.
  • Use a spam-text blocker. Spam blockers are designed to prevent scam and spam texts from reaching your phone, so you never have to deal with them at all.

Efforts by Venmo to combat text scams

Venmo is aware that imposters use them as a disguise for their scams, but there is little they can do to prevent it — or to help victims get their money back. You can contact Venmo online or on the app to submit a request to open a dispute, but it’s unlikely you’ll recoup the money you lost, even in the case of fraud.

Venmo advises people to use their service only among trusted family, friends, and colleagues, as there are limited protections for buyers and sellers. They recommend only making purchases through Venmo if the seller has a Venmo-approved business account; if you must pay someone’s personal account, mark the payment as a purchase.

Other common scam texts to be aware of

Venmo isn’t the only service being used as a disguise for payment text scams: Zelle and PayPal scams are rampant as well. Watch out for other imposter scam texts that claim to be from well-known companies like:

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Stay safe from Venmo text scams with Robokiller

Venmo text scams are dangerous scams that use your Venmo account to steal personal and financial information and, ultimately, your money. The more common they get, the more important it is to understand what they are and how to protect yourself. Fortunately, spam-blocking apps like Robokiller prevent scam texts from ever even reaching your phone.

Robokiller’s unique features, years of experience, and trusted spam call-blocking algorithm make it the top choice for staying protected from Venmo text scams. Our app is 99% effective in blocking robocalls and scam texts, preventing over $600 million in estimated losses to phone scams to-date.

Download Robokiller free for 7 days.


Does Venmo actually send out text messages?

Venmo sometimes does send out text messages, but never to ask for personal information. They may send certain types of receipts and notifications, but only if you’ve opted in for them.

How can I tell if a text claiming to be from Venmo is a scam?

Venmo only texts users who have opted in to text notifications. Aside from the initial message they send to verify the account phone number, Venmo only texts its users the receipts they’ve signed up for. Venmo sends texts from its 86753 short code and emails from addresses ending in

What should I do if I receive a suspicious text that seems to be from Venmo?

If you receive a text message that claims to be from Venmo but seems suspicious, don’t answer or follow any links. Instead, call Venmo’s customer service line at 1 (855) 812-4430, email them at, or contact them through the app to determine if the message was a scam.

How can I protect myself from a Venmo text scam?

The best way to protect yourself from all text scams is to download a dedicated spam blocker like Robokiller that can keep dangerous scams from making it to your phone in the first place. If you do get a Venmo text scam, refrain from responding or tapping any links. Block the sender, delete the message, and report it to the authorities.

Does Venmo refund money if I was scammed?

Unfortunately, Venmo generally does not refund money when there are disputes between users, even in the case of a scam. Getting your money back after a scam can be extremely difficult, which is why it’s crucial to use a spam blocker to avoid scam texts entirely.

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