How You Can Get Scammed If You Have PayPal, Apple Pay or Venmo Apps on Your Phone

Beware Of People Asking To Borrow Your Phone

Do you have any of the PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or Apple Pay apps installed on your smartphone? The digital wallet fraud has been increasing gradually especially this month, from tricks involving money sent accidentally to many other Venmo scams. Today we have a new scheme that we expose for our readers: The Borrowed Phone Scam. Beware of people seeming to need an urgent call and asking for your phone. What is the worst thing that could happen if you do that? Let’s take a look.

Watch the video below to see the Stranger Borrowing Phone Scam exposed:



The scam is pulled merely by people asking for your help. “My phone just died, and I need to make a phone call home to my daughter. She is sick. Could I please use your phone for a minute?”, the scammer might say. As soon as they step away from you and pretend to type the phone number, they look to see if you have any of the apps mentioned above installed on your phone. If you do, they pretend to make the call, but right away they say the person is not responding.

“Can I please text her? I am very concerned”, the scammer asks. As you give the approval and maybe some space for privacy, the criminal starts operating on the scam. He opens any of the payment apps, let’s say Venmo, and transfers money to his account. All he needs is 30 seconds. Just like a text message!

After that, he deletes the app altogether so you can’t get any notifications.

How is the whole thing possible? For example, Venmo’s default security setting does not require a PIN. This loop allows the user to transfer money immediately. How about the other ones? How can you be safe? Here is how to protect yourself.

Stranger Asking For Phone Scam: How To Avoid

For all the payment apps that you have installed on your smartphone, you should use multi-factor authentication, such as a thumbprint or a PIN code. Not to mention, get off of Bluetooth. Criminals can hack into your phone via the Bluetooth portal and have access to any application that you have.

Another good idea is to link your accounts to a credit card instead of a debit card, for extra protection. Avoid the auto-login and lock down the apps. Better safe than sorry.

If you have Venmo, open the app, and click the top-left icon. Once the drop-down menu opens, click on ‘Settings’ then scroll down and turn on the ‘Touch ID and PIN.’ Type a four-digit PIN, which you will have to use next time you want to transfer money.

Before we go into how to report this scam, beware of other fraudulent practices when it comes to the apps mentioned above, such as the Venmo Deposit Text scam or fake Venmo transactions.

How To Report Any Scam

Make your family and friends aware of the Stranger Borrowing Your Phone Scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here


How To Protect Yourself More:

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.

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