- ‘Trump is innocent!’: InfoWars correspondent interrupts impeachment hearing 2 Years Ago
- Video shows runner smacking reporter’s butt on live TV 2 Years Ago
- 27 senators call on Trump to fire Stephen Miller Today 11:13 AM
- Conservatives are fighting over whether porn is OK Today 10:39 AM
- The best in tech gifts for women this year Today 10:39 AM
- Why do the Golden Globes keep sidelining women filmmakers? Today 10:37 AM
- Netflix dominates with 34 Golden Globe nominations across TV and film Today 10:27 AM
- Ethan Klein has declared war on K-pop—and K-pop fans Today 10:22 AM
- People are not happy with Steve Harvey’s cartel comment to Miss Colombia Today 10:21 AM
- The decade conspiracy theories overtook the truth Today 9:14 AM
- Marianne Williamson duped into believing Trump pardoned Charles Manson Today 8:55 AM
- TikTok users are freaking out about ‘predicting’ Juice WRLD’s death Today 7:59 AM
- @MugJerry and the quest for Instagram justice Today 7:00 AM
- Angela Abar wrestles with destiny in ‘Watchmen’ episode 8 Sunday 9:05 PM
- Guy who runs Trump Organization Twitter account caught hyping up own tweet Sunday 4:51 PM
The group reportedly targets people selling camera equipment on Facebook Marketplace, and convinces them to use Venmo as the method for transaction. Instead of sending over a single payment, the group, which has a number of accounts under the name Andy Mai, sends dozens of installments between $80 and $90.
It isn’t until a few hours later, long after the scammers get their expensive equipment, that Venmo freezes the seller’s accounts and tells them to reach out to local law enforcement. One of the victims who reportedly lost a $1,500 Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K was told by a Venmo customer service rep that his account had been suspended for breaking the app’s user policy by receiving money for goods.
It appears Venmo also blocked the accounts from Andy Mai, but more surfaced soon after.
Venmo strongly warns against conducting transactions with people you don’t know, especially if it involves the sale of goods. It considers the transactions “potentially high risk” and reminds users that there’s no protection program for sales conducted with its service.
According to the report, two victims who lost a combined $9,000 found as many as 20 other individuals who were affected over the course of just two weeks. The Verge says it verified four victims with loses up to $25,000. If the other 16 or so reports are also verified, losses could add up to as high as $100,000.
“The main issue I have with this entire situation is that Venmo knows this is happening, but they’re doing nothing,” Brendan, one of the victims, told the Verge. “They’ve created a platform for criminals, and are placing the blame on their legitimate users, despite the incredibly misleading information on their website.”
One particularly concerning detail from the report claims one of the Mai accounts housed more than the standard $200 limit. Once you go beyond that amount, users must verify a bunch of information with Venmo, including their birth date, zip code, the last four digits of their social security number, and additional information. This raises the question of how Mai was able to run multiple verified accounts at the same time, all while they were being shut down and resurfacing under a similar name.
As the Verge points out, Venmo, unlike other money transfer services, does not charge a transfer fee that can be used to protect against fraud. This means it doesn’t have the same defenses as credit cards and banks when it comes to determining whether money is stolen or misused.
It’s not clear how Venmo plans to stop Andy Mai from stealing more money from people who are unfamiliar with its app.
We have reached out to Venmo and will update this article when we hear back.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.