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Consumer Alert: BBB warns scammers can exploit mobile payment app Venmo

Splitting the check has never been easier, thanks to Venmo, a mobile payment application that allows users to securely transfer money between bank accounts. But it’s also leaving some users vulnerable to scams. (WJAR)

Splitting the check has never been easier, thanks to Venmo.

The mobile payment application allows users to securely transfer money between bank accounts.

But it’s also leaving some users vulnerable to scams.

The application, which processed $17.6 billion in transactions in 2016, is safe to use between friends.

But the Better Business Bureau serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT is warning people not use the app with people you don't know.

Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Paula Fleming said the Better Business Bureau is seeing an increase in complaints involving Venmo.

“There's a small period of time in which it says the transaction has been processed, and scam artists are using that time frame to then cancel,” said Fleming. “So they get the merchandise they want to purchase -- a car, tickets -- and then they cancel the transaction and you're out the money.”

Similar to depositing a bad check, the money will appear in your account while the bank is processing, but the seller still has a short window of time to cancel that transaction.

Several Brown University students told NBC 10 News that they only use Venmo with friends, so they aren’t concerned with security.

And they’re right.

“Venmo is designed for payments between friends and people who trust each other,” Venmo notes on its website. “Avoid payments to people you don't know, especially if it involves a sale for goods and services (like event tickets and Craigslist items).”

Venmo does not offer buyer or seller protection.

“Venmo is really meant for friends to use with friends,” said Fleming.

Venmo is working with the Better Business Bureau to address the complaints that have been filed.

They're also working to educate users: only accept and send money to someone you trust.

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