Venmo and other online payment apps have made transferring money easier than ever. But with convenience comes risk – like falling for the notorious Paxful wallet Venmo scam that’s duping people into “accidentally” sending $100 to fraudsters.
I recently stumbled upon a YouTube video exposing how this clever scheme works after the creator himself received a dubious payment request. Curious and concerned, I had to dig deeper.
What I uncovered was an alarming fraud operation that all Venmo and Paxful users need to know about. Beyond just raising awareness, I wanted to provide actionable advice to help fellow crypto traders avoid becoming victims.
In this extensive guide, you’ll learn:
- Exactly how the “Paxful wallet” Venmo scam tricks users into sending $100 payments
- Red flags to watch out for in suspicious Venmo/PayPal requests
- Steps to take if you accidentally sent money to one of these scammers
- Pro tips to beef up your payment app security and avoid fake requests
- How to spot shady Paxful sellers and stay safe when buying crypto
- Venmo and Paxful’s perspectives on this scam – are they doing enough?
If you use Venmo, PayPal or Paxful (or any fintech app), it’s crucial you understand this brazen scam and how to protect your hard-earned money. Let’s dive in.
Overview of The “Paxful Wallet” Venmo Crypto Scam Stealing $100 at a Time
The scam starts with victims receiving an official-looking Venmo or PayPal payment request from a “Paxful Wallet” for exactly $100.
The message looks convincing, with no obvious errors or sketchiness. Without realizing it’s a scam, some users get tricked into hitting “accept” or “send”, unintentionally authorizing a $100 transfer.
By the time they figure out it’s fraud, the money is gone. And little do they know thousands of others are falling for the same trick.
I first learned about this scam from a YouTube creator who operates in the crypto space. He broke down exactly how the hustle works:
“The payment request supposedly generated by Paxful Wallet that you see on the screen right now is just a scam. Someone sends thousands of such requests to random Venmo/PayPal wallets, relying on statistics that a small percentage of people will accidentally click to complete the $100 charge.”
The video goes on to explain that because peer-to-peer transaction apps make it so easy to request money or send invoices, scammers exploit this functionality to blast out fake payment prompts.
Knowing a small fraction of recipients will mindlessly hit “accept” without realizing what they’re authorizing, the scammers play a high-volume numbers game. Even with a low “conversion” success rate, sending so many fake requests allows them to pocket $100 at a time from unsuspecting victims.
And it adds up, providing a lucrative revenue stream for these fraudsters.
So how do they get away with this scheme without getting caught? It’s pretty clever…
How Scammers “Wash” The Stolen $100 Venmo & PayPal Crypto Payments
The scammers send so many fake $100 requests that even if some recipients report the fraud or file disputes, the hustlers rake in enough ill-gotten gains to make it worthwhile.
But to prevent Venmo, PayPal and banks from catching on, they have a money laundering trick up their sleeve.
Shortly after receiving your $100, the fraudsters use that balance to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin through Paxful. Because crypto purchases are essentially untraceable, this allows them to “wash” the dirty money.
After the tokens are withdrawn from Paxful to the scammer’s crypto wallet, there’s no way for financial institutions to reverse the Bitcoin transaction.
So in other words, by quickly flipping your $100 Venmo payment into Bitcoin, the fraudsters conceal the money trail before you have time to file a dispute. And sadly in most cases, it’s too late – victims have no way to claw back the funds.
Now that you understand how the mechanics of this “easy money” crypto scam works, let’s cover common red flags to help spot scammers…
6 Red Flags – How To Spot a Fake Paxful Wallet Venmo Payment Request
While at first glance Paxful wallet Venmo scams can appear legitimate, there are subtle signs that something is off:
1. Odd payment reference details – Scammers use generic payment descriptions that seem impersonal/automated (ex. “Money Transfer”, “Payment #83847”, etc.)
2. No note or context provided – Authentic peer-to-peer Venmo payments usually include a personalized message or explanation.
3. Sender name doesn’t match real identity – The name on the account could be totally fake or impersonating a real service (ex. “Venmo Support”, etc.)
4. Request is for a suspiciously exact, round amount ($100, $500 etc.)
5. Sender account lacks profile photo – Scam accounts often have default silhouettes as their icon image.
6. You don’t recognize the sender whatsoever – You have no idea who this person is or why they’d be asking you for money.
If a Venmo or PayPal request sets off any alarm bells, exercise extreme caution. Don’t rush. Verify the sender’s identity by contacting them on a separate platform.
And if anything seems slightly off, err on the side of safety – ignore or report the payment request instead of clicking blindly. It’s better to miss out on an edge case legitimate request than fall victim to fraud.
Next let’s explore what to do if you realize you already got scammed…
What To Do If You Accidentally Sent $100 to a Paxful Wallet Venmo Scammer
First, don’t panic. I know realizing your money got swindled feels awful and infuriating. But take a deep breath. There may still be hope depending on your specific situation.
Here are smart steps to take if you got duped by a fake Paxful wallet Venmo or PayPal request:
- Immediately report request as fraudulent to Venmo/PayPal
Hop into the app and find the payment details. Report it as unauthorized or fraudulent so Venmo/PayPal formally document your dispute on record.
- Call bank to attempt stopping payment
Venmo is connected to your bank account, debit card, or credit card. Call your bank’s fraud department, explain the scam situation, and ask them to halt the payment processing. Be persistent, as this is your best bet for blocking the money transfer.
- Contact authorities to report cybercrime
File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or contact your local law enforcement so authorities have this payment fraud on record.
Unfortunately the odds funds get reversed are very slim at this point. Filing reports primarily helps uncover and stop scam rings in the future.
- Monitor account activity closely for other fraud
Hopefully reporting the fake request prevents your $100 from finalizing transfer to the scammer. But nevertheless monitor your financial accounts closely over the next days and weeks so you can spot any other unusual activity.
- Adjust account and privacy settings
To avoid landing in this mess again, lock down your Venmo and PayPal privacy settings so random users can’t view your profile details or send money requests without permission.
We’ll cover more prevention tactics soon. But first, let’s talk about why the Paxful wallet aspect makes this scam especially devious…
How Scammers Exploit Paxful to “Wash” Dirty Crypto Payments
Paxful is a popular peer-to-peer bitcoin trading platform with over 4.5 million active accounts. They processed $1.5 billion in crypto trades last year alone.
So why are scammers name-dropping “Paxful wallet” in their Venmo schemes?
It’s primarily to add perceived legitimacy in payment requests by associating the name of a well-known crypto service.
The “Paxful wallet” branding tricks more users into blindly hitting accept.
And as mentioned earlier, Paxful provides the perfect crypto “washing machine” to anonymize stolen funds shortly after they’re received.
By quickly flipping dirty fiat currency from Venmo into untraceable Bitcoin, scammers conceal money trails before disputes or investigations happen. It’s devilishly brilliant.
However, Paxful claims they’re trying hard to fight this by identifying and banning any accounts being used for suspected money laundering or fraud.
In their article “Everything you need to know about Bitcoin scams”, Paxful explains they have security tools and blockchain analysis systems in place to detect shady behavior across the platform:
“Additionally, Paxful implements many security measures to protect you on Paxful. Aside from features like 2FA, escrow, and a 24/7 customer support team, we also have a secure Bitcoin wallet to store your money and state-of-the-art blockchain analysis tools to keep any suspicious activity far away from your account.”
Yet sneaky scammers still slip through cracks and Paxful certainly faces its share of criticism for not stemming crypto-related fraud aggressively enough.
Review sites like TrustPilot feature countless complaints of Paxful fraud:
“I got scammed on Paxful for 900$ and I haven’t received any support. I raised 3 disputes and emailed them but they just won’t reply […] I have lost my money and Paxful did nothing about catching the scammer.”
So while Paxful claims to be dialing up security efforts, users cite ongoing struggles with shady sellers, money-laundering, fake profiles, and lack of fraud protection. Sound familiar?
Bottom line – be extremely cautious when trading crypto on Paxful. Do your due diligence researching seller reputations before transacting. There’s still substantial risk sending strangers money without sufficient scam protection assurances.
Anyway, back to our Venmo saga…how has their parent company PayPal responded to this scam?
Venmo is actually owned by PayPal. And interestingly enough, PayPal users also frequently complain about fake payment requests and account security issues.
You’ll notice strikingly similar frustrations across Venmo and PayPal communities of fraud alerts being ignored and lackluster purchase protection when crypto or goods aren’t delivered.
Lately when you Google about this scam, there are multiple Reddit threads and videos popping up warning others after people lost $100 to the “Paxful wallet” trick.
But finding an “official” response from Venmo or PayPal addressing the issue is near impossible. Their support teams seem to be sweeping concerns under the rug.
Some fed up victims have gone as far as contacting news outlets hoping journalists pressure Venmo and PayPal to beef up their fraud detection.
But so far it’s been radio silent from company leadership.
However after digging for days across social channels and forums, I managed to find one tiny acknowledgement of rising crypto scams from Venmo’s company website:
It’s a short blurb titled “Scams involving crypto” that briefly advises being cautious of phishing links and verifying recipients before sending crypto payments. Confusingly though there’s no direct mention of Paxful wallet payment scams.
And the rest of Venmo’s security and fraud advice pages offer pretty remedial tips focused almost exclusively on standard personal account protections (strong passwords, two-factor authentication, etc.)
It was extremely concerning to see such surface-level public scam education that’s basically ignored and unsupported across communities actually dealing with this fraud daily.
In 2023 you’d expect more urgency and transparency addressing threats like a growing scam stealing $100 at a time from customers. But unfortunately both Venmo and Paxful seem to be playing defense trying to downplay legal and PR exposure rather than fixing root security gaps enabling this nasty scam.
Now after breaking down this scam top-to bottom, it’s time we shift gears into proactive protection mode so fellow Venmo users can stay vigilant against crypto payment fraud…
9 Pro Tips to Lock Down Venmo & Avoid Fake Paxful Wallet Requests
Beyond watching for the red flags we covered earlier, here are my top recommendations to bulletproof your Venmo account security:
- Adjust payment privacy settings
Head into your Venmo settings to control who can view transaction history and restrict money requests to friends only. Disable public viewing settings when possible.
- Setup two-factor authentication
Add an extra login security layer like requiring authentication apps or SMS codes when accessing your account.
- Never have Venmo autopay other apps
Avoid allowing Venmo as a stored payment method in third party services. This gives broad token access for potential fraud.
- Only connect trusted funding sources
Carefully vet any bank/debit card before granting API access to move money through Venmo. Start with limits on new links.
- Promptly deactivate compromised cards
If your connected funding source seems to have security issues, immediately detach it within Venmo and have your bank cancel the card.
- Use unique complex account passwords
When creating passwords, use randomly generated 15+ character strings without personal dictionary words. Never duplicate passwords across accounts or websites.
- Monitor account activity daily
Log into your Venmo account daily to review recent transactions and quickly identify any unauthorized activity. Enable push notifications as well for transaction alerts.
- Only send crypto payments to trusted recipients
Before wiring someone crypto via Venmo, thoroughly validate their identity through outside channels and previous transaction history. Beware strangers.
- Report suspicious behavior
Bottom line, the onus is unfortunately on you as the user to take protective measures ensuring your crypto assets and connected payment accounts stay secure. Venmo, Paxful and others still have major work left strengthening fraud detection for the sake of unwitting customers.
Final Thoughts – Who’s Responsible for Stopping This $100 Crypto Scam?
In an era where digital currencies allow moving vast sums instantly across the planet to strangers, we badly need more accountability from companies like Venmo and Paxful around user security.
But shockingly little emphasis has been placed on actually catching the masterminds orchestrating these crypto cons that rake in $100 at a time from unsuspecting P2P payment users.
Even after exposing every gritty detail about this scam operation, Venmo refuses to publicly address the fraud scheme draining money from its own customer base. And Paxful pleading ignorance about enabling “washed” crypto payments seems suspect as well.
So for the time being, protecting yourself is the only viable option until regulators and class action attorneys catch up.
Take control by locking down financial account access, analyzing payment requests carefully, restricting app permissions, reporting anything suspicious, and only sending money to trusted recipients after independently verifying identities.
Also consider minimizing reliance on fintech apps allowing money movement to random users you’ve never met. When crypto is involved, traditional fraud protections and purchase guarantees rarely apply.
Until companies like Venmo and Paxful enact serious reform targeting exploitative users and provable security changes, their platforms remain hotbeds for crypto cons.
It’s a gut check moment for the future of decentralized digital currencies. If people don’t feel safe efficiently exchanging value, mass adoption will never happen.
For potential victims out there, hopefully this inside look at how scammers finesse Venmo to “wash” stolen $100 payments leads to greater awareness and sparks change.
But in the meantime, exercise extreme caution where third party payment apps, crypto trading platforms and complete strangers meet. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. And in this case, hundreds of dollars lost.
Stay vigilant protecting your hard-earned money my friends. And please share this guide to help your own social circles avoid this nightmare-ish Venmo + Paxful wallet scam.
Similar scam to avoid online at all cost:
- The Government Gateway Scam – Don’t Fall Victim
- Immediate 5.0 Evex Scam – An In-Depth Investigation
- The Completionist Scam or Legit Charity? Unveiling The Truth