Venmo payments default to a public setting, meaning if you use the app as it appears when you download it, anybody can see you paying friends, family, dog walkers, and drug dealers. This, obviously, isn’t a great idea. And the problem expands beyond just people perusing the payment feed in the app. A computer-science student recently scraped data from 7 million transactions, according to Tech Crunch. The data was obtained over the course of six months.
The student, Dan Salmon, used Venmo’s developer API to get the data. Which means he didn’t need anybody’s permission to access their transaction information. He technically didn’t even need to have the app. And he’s not even the first to do this. This has been a known issue for Venmo for some time now. A different researcher downloaded hundreds of millions of transactions last year.
If the obvious security risks aren’t enough to deter you, please know if your Venmo transactions are public I will be stalking them. Or if not me, somebody else who is equally nosy. A longtime Venmo voyeur, I’m no stranger to poking around in the app until I’m down a rabbit hole reading transactions between my former roommate’s ex-boyfriend’s hairstylist. Don’t make it this easy for me to find out what you’re up to.