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How to protect your privacy and safety on money-sharing apps

Published: May. 19, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Is it safe to send money with online apps?

Your personal information may be exposed.

Buzzfeed reporters reported they recently found President Biden’s Venmo account in less than 10 minutes.

19 Investigates found it’s not just public officials who should be concerned.

Venmo and similar money transfer apps are easy to use and really convenient.

A simple tap let’s you transfer money to your friends or even local businesses.

It’s popular with people of all ages.

We show you how you can protect yourself with a quick look at your settings.

App transactions are set to public

We noticed all transactions are automatically set to public.

A scroll of any typical feed on the app shows your friends paying each other for things like pizza, baby showers, moving, house painting, and getting their hair done.

You can change this so your transactions are private.

Just go to settings> privacy> and click on “private.”

Now only you and the person you’re sending money to can see it.

Why is this important? The information on here can be used against you.

Scammers could set up fake accounts in your name, stalkers could find you, and attorneys could possibly use it to build a case against you.

So it’s best to be safe.

Since your bank account or credit card is linked to Venmo, you should add some layers of protection.

More steps to take

CNET offers this advice:

-Set up two-factor identification

-Set up a Face ID or PIN number

-Turn on “payment notifications” to check for any unauthorized activity.

-Your friends list is public, but you can “unfriend” people for more privacy.

This can all be done under “settings.”

On its website, Venmo says it uses encryption to protect your account and monitor it for any unauthorized transactions.

You can contact them with any concerns regarding your account activity.

Venmo also says online that nobody from the company will ever contact you asking for your password or a verification code to your account.

We reached out to Venmo. A spokesperson sent us this statement:

“The safety and privacy of all Venmo users and their information is always a top priority, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Customers always have the ability to make their transactions private and determine their own privacy settings in the app. We’re consistently evolving and strengthening the privacy measures for all Venmo users to continue to provide a safe, secure place to send and spend money.”

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