Venmo was created initially for making transactions with people you trust. It wasn’t intended for buying products or services from strangers online.
Since Craigslist doesn’t typically regulate advertisements, relying on Venmo as a general payment method may be unreliable. It’s always better to meet up with the seller and pay with cash, as recommended by Craigslist.
- How Does Venmo Work?
- How Does Craigslist Work?
- Why Is Venmo Unsafe For Craigslist?
- How Can I Be Safe When Using Venmo?
How Does Venmo Work?
Digital transactions, like Venmo, have become the go-to method for online payments. Yet, what is Venmo exactly?
Venmo is an online application that makes peer-to-peer payments possible. For example, say you went to a brunch with friends and forgot to split the bill. How can Venmo help?
Take a look.
When you use Venmo on your phone, you’ll be able to see the “Pay or Request” button. When you click this, you’ll be asked to type in your friend’s information.
After this, you can detail the purpose of the payment and click “Pay.” Of course, if your friend is the one who owes you money, you’ll click “Request” instead.
Next, click the green confirmation button to confirm your transaction. Voila! You’ve just transferred money to your friend’s Venmo account.
Scan the QR Code
An easier way to transfer or receive money through Venmo is by using QR codes.
If you’re still with your friend, you can always use the QR code option. Scanning the code will take you to their profile, where you can send or request funds.
Next, enter the amount you’re paying, and you’re done!
How Does Craigslist Work?
Now that you’re practically a Venmo expert let’s talk a bit about Craigslist.
Craigslist is a free online platform that allows you to view and post local advertisements. It has things like jobs, garage sales, used items, personal ads, and more.
Say you found a piece of second-hand furniture on Craigslist at a great deal that you can’t pass up. Here’s how you can buy your new-found treasure:
Step 1: Click the Item
The first thing you have to do is click on the link or photo of the item you want to buy. This will direct you to the product page, where you can read about it in more detail.
Step 2: Contact the Seller
Once you find what you’re looking for, you can contact the seller. When they reply, express your interest in the item.
If all goes well, you and the seller should agree on the time and place of the meet-up. Also, don’t forget to ask to see the item in person first before completing your purchase.
Step 3: Complete the Transaction
Finally, if you’re satisfied with the item, you can pay the seller upfront. It may seem like an electronic form of payment is faster and more efficient, but Craigslist actually warns against this.
Only use digital payments with people you completely trust, not just on Craigslist but on other sites as well. So, it’s better to use cash just to be safe.
Why Is Venmo Unsafe For Craigslist?
Venmo is unsafe for Craigslist for buyers and sellers because scammers keep getting more creative.
Check it out.
Using Stolen Bank Information
If a scammer has successfully stolen information from another person, they can use this to buy products under their name.
On the other hand, if you’re a seller, the scam happens when the original owner reports the transaction. This will transfer the money back to the owner, leaving you with no money and no product.
Filing a Chargeback
Performing a chargeback can be linked to a stolen credit card. The owner can file a chargeback with their credit card company to dispute the transaction and ask for a refund.
Once again, you’ll be left with no money and no purchase.
Sending Fake Emails
To carry out this scam, the scammer sends you screenshots of a fake email that confirms their payment. Of course, it can be tough to make out whether these emails are fake or not.
If you haven’t received any money in your account, chances are they haven’t actually made any payments.
Sending Fake Shipping Information
Sending fake shipping information is a lot like sending fake emails. If the scammer sends shipping information, make sure to check the tracking code immediately.
Insisting on Payment First
Anyone who insists on payment upfront is the most obvious sign of a scam. Sometimes, the scammer will only be asking for a partial payment.
This is prevalent on rare items like game consoles or the latest technologies. Even so, never say yes to this kind of agreement.
How Can I Be Safe When Using Venmo?
While Venmo offers some security during transactions, they’re still not enough to completely avoid scams.
Here are some ways to provide your funds with an extra layer of protection:
Set Up Extra Security Measures
Multi-factor authentication is like setting up a PIN or fingerprint recognition that can help in securing your account. If Venmo doesn’t recognize a device, it’ll immediately alert you and ask you to provide a PIN.
Clicking suspicious links, especially from emails or texts, can only end in disaster.
Even with just one click, scammers can gather a heapful of data on you. So, even if you receive messages containing a link saying you’ve won a prize, make sure not to click on anything.
Don’t Let Strangers Use Your Phone
It’s hard to believe, but some scams can happen in person. So, for example, if someone asks to use your phone to call a friend or a family member, don’t give it to them.
This is how some scammers gain access to your Venmo account. Then, in the blink of an eye, they can send themselves money from your account.
Report Any Suspicious Activities
As a general rule, you should report any suspicious activities as soon as you detect them. Subsequently, your report will document the fraudulent transaction and allow the parties to deal with it promptly in a fair and just manner.
Venmo has definitely created an efficient way for contactless transactions. This doesn’t absolve them from possible scams, though. When dealing with an unregulated platform like Craigslist, you must put your own security first.
So, is Venmo safe for Craigslist? No, in most cases, Craigslist frowns upon online payment transactions. That said, there are a few exceptions, like if you’re buying directly from a trusted friend that just happens to have a Craigslist listing, then go ahead.
As always, remember to use Venmo responsibly.