Janelle Temnick thought her friend was in trouble, but something didn’t seem quite right.
“I thought it was odd,” said Temnick.
Her friend sent her a Venmo request asking for $420. The message said her friend Monica had forgotten her purse and needed the money to buy groceries. But instead of sending the money, she decided to text Monica.
“I responded right away,” said Monica Dean, a news anchor at NBC 7. “It’s not me, do not send any money.”
Dean discovered that someone had taken her name and her picture and had created a Venmo account. The person then sent a request for money to people on Monica’s account.
“That night I heard from several people who had also gotten a request in various amounts posing to be me, asking for money,” said Dean.
Venmo is a mobile payment app that lets you send or receive money using your smartphone. It is often used to pay small bills or divide payments between friends.
What Monica didn’t know was that there was a privacy setting on her Venmo account and she had not clicked the privacy button. That meant other people could look at her account and see who she was friends with. That is apparently the list used by a potential scam artist to try and trick Monica’s friends into sending money.
Janelle Temnick said she’s glad she caught it right away. “I think people are out there phishing and trying to use whatever means possible to try and get people to send the money.”
Monica Dean contacted Venmo and was told they would look into the potential scam. Dean has changed her privacy setting and is warning her friends.
“I think it’s something everyone needs to be aware of,” Dean said.