People using Venmo to pay it forward this holiday season

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Venmo app(KVLY)
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 5:44 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - People are getting creative this holiday season, using social media to find those who need a little extra help. The #venmochallenge has given people like Savannah Inlow a way to help others get through the holidays.

“I thought it would be a wonderful idea to jump on this bandwagon and start the giving process,” said Inlow.

After seeing the challenge on Facebook, Inlow received a few donations from strangers.

“I thought it was really neat so I gave those back to the community,” she said.

Scrolling through the Pay It Forward Fargo/Moorhead/West Fargo Facebook group several people have posted screenshots of their Venmo and Cash App accounts.

“Families in need, single mothers...Whatever helps, whether it’s a dollar or five dollars, or twenty,” Inlow explained.

She said she has been there before.

“I first hand know what it feels like to struggle,” said Inlow, “Even for your next meal, or if you’re going to have a roof over your head.”

While your intentions may be pure wanting to help, some people in the group have posted their Venmo user names but don’t live in the area. The Better Business Bureau Vice President of Communications Bao Vang warns people to be cautious and scope out the people before donating.

“Because scammers know that our feelings, our emotions, are this certain way this time of year and they will prey on that,” said Vang.

Still, Inlow said it’s worth the risk, especially when it means watching the community come together.

“It makes me feel even prouder to say that I’m from the Fargo-Moorhead area because everybody is so loving and giving,” she said.

The BBB offers this advice when using online money transfer apps:

  • Use money transfer with friends: Protect yourself from scams by only using money transfer apps for their intended purpose -- sending money to people you personally know.
  • Enable additional security settings: Check the account settings to turn on additional security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, requiring a PIN, or using fingerprint recognition like Touch ID.
  • Link the money transfer app to a credit card. As with many other purchases, using a credit card provides additional security if you don’t receive the goods or services paid for. Linking to a debit card or directly to a bank account does not provide added protection.
  • Use a strong password or 2FA on your phone. In the unfortunate event that your cell phone is lost or stolen, be sure criminals can’t access your payment apps. Secure your phone by choosing a strong password, biometric security devices, or two-factor authentification security available on many smartphones.
  • Check the account after a transaction to be sure that the money is transferred. If you do use a peer-to-peer payment app to sell something, be aware that it takes a few days for some payments to transfer. Confirm the money transfer before sending the sold item. If you have any concerns that a payer didn’t really send the money, be sure to check your account directly.
  • Have the right phone number for customer service: Avoid searching online for a customer service phone number. Instead, go directly to the company’s website. Some tech companies do not have public numbers and don’t accept phone calls.

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