Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Venmo (a Subsidiary of PayPal) Makes It Easy for Anyone to Spy on Your Financial Transactions

Do you want to keep your expenses secret? Are you afraid your spouse might find out about the dinners and gifts for your girlfriend or boyfriend you paid for? Are you aware that your ex-spouse can see your Venmo transactions and then go to court with evidence you can afford more alimony than what you previously claimed? Are you aware that the police and your family can probably see how much money you are spending on recreational drugs?

If any of this concerns you, don’t use Venmo for your payments!

According to MarketWatch’s Leslie Albrecht, people are using the peer-to-peer payment app Venmo to find out if their spouse is cheating. From the report:

“Nicole found out the guy she was dating was already in a committed relationship. Abby learned that her ex had most likely hooked up with someone new, and Ben discovered that a long-ago casual fling had apparently developed a drug habit.

“The sleuthing tool that cracked these relationship mysteries was not a private investigator, but the peer-to-peer payment app Venmo.”


“Some users seem to forget that their transactions are public by default, and their payment activity provides an unfiltered paper trail of what’s really happening in their lives. In [Faber’s] case, she checked up on her ex-boyfriend and saw he was spending money on pizza and the popular video game Fortnite — and making regular payments to one girl, who Faber guessed is his new hook-up.

“Venmo has had a social component since it launched in 2009. Users see a feed of both their own friends’ payments and total strangers’ activity every time they open the app, and it’s easy to look up users. Exact amounts aren’t listed, but you can see who’s paying who and which words or emoji they use to describe the payment. The social feed is Venmo’s ‘secret sauce,’ said Erin Mackey, a spokeswoman for Venmo and its parent company PayPal. In fact, it’s usually the reason people are logging on. ‘Our most active users check Venmo daily and the average user checks Venmo two to three times per week — and it’s not for payments, but to see what their friends and family are doing.'”

You can read Leslie Albrecht’s article at:

Categories: Online Privacy & Security

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