Scammers are Targeting Your Venmo and P2P Accounts

Do you use Venmo or other P2P accounts? If so, you definitely could be a target of scammers. Across the county, people are losing their cash, and it often happens so quickly that they don’t even know what’s happening.

You might think that you couldn’t be a victim, but scammers are often smarter and trickier, and they won’t hesitate to take advantage of you.

Here’s how they are doing it:

A stranger approaches you to use your phone. They have a sob story to make this scam more credible. You hand your phone over, they make it look like they are dialing, but instead, they are doing something else: swiping and searching your phone for “Venmo” and easily getting into your Venmo account and transferring money to themselves. People are losing thousands of dollars simply for being kind to a stranger.

Tips to Keep Yourself Safe

When using a P2P payment system, you should know that they all require access to your financial info. So, when you use them, make sure that your account settings are set in a way to ensure all of the security measures that you can set. In order to keep yourself safe from scams like this, there are some tips that can keep you safe.

  • Two step authentication. Access the menu, turn it on. This might include using PIN, a biometric log in, like a fingerprint.
  • Get the money out of your account. In most P2P apps, when you get a payment, the money is generally added to the balance held in the app. It doesn’t appear in your bank account until you transfer it or use it in another way. If you want to transfer money to your bank account, you should definitely make sure that the deposit went through. Just keep in mind that it could take a couple of days to transfer.
  • Pay only those you know well. Scammers know a lot of tricks, and they will find methods to trick you into paying them in ways you would never expect. So, if you are sending money from one of these apps or sites, make sure that you know the person you are sending money to. If you are using the app or site to get money from someone else, transfer the payment into your bank account and make sure it transfers before you send any goods.
  • Disconnect from Social Media: Finally, keep in mind that there are apps or sites might share your transaction information on social media. Check your social media settings because some of these settings might be set to share this info. Just make sure you are comfortable with what is going out on social media.

P2P Security Concerns for Small Business

Peer to peer file sharing is a great technology used to share data over peer networks.  It’s also great software to get hacked. This is the same P2P software that allows users to download pirated music, movies and software.

In my own P2P security research, I have uncovered tax returns, student loan applications, credit reports and Social Security numbers. I’ve found family rosters which include usernames, passwords and Social Security numbers for entire family. I’ve found Christmas lists, love letters, private photos and videos (naughty ones, too) and just about anything else that can be saved as a digital file.

Installing P2P software allows anyone, including criminal hackers, to access your client’s data. This can result in business securitybreaches, credit card fraud and identity theft. This is the easiest form of hacking. There have been numerous reports of numerous government agencies, drug companies, mortgage brokers and others discovering P2P software on their networks after personal data was leaked.

Blueprints for President Obama’s private helicopters were recently compromised because a Maryland-based defense contractor’s P2P software had leaked them to the wild, wild web.

#1 HaveP2P security policies in place not allowing the installation of P2P software on your workplace computers or employee laptops.

#2 A quick look at the “All Programs Menu” will show nearly every program on your computers. If you find an unfamiliar program, do an online search to see what it is you’ve found.

#3 Set administrative privileges prevent the installation of new software without your knowledge.

Robert Siciliano personal and small business security specialist toADT Small Business Security discussingADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures

P2P File Sharing On College Campuses

Peer-to-peer file sharing, or P2P, has become enormously popular on college campuses across the country because it allows students to easily exchange music and video files over the Internet. Tens of millions of people use P2P applications such as Limewire, eDonkey, and BearShare to fill their MP3 players and hard drives with all the music and movies they want, all for free. But even “free” has a cost.

In addition to violating copyright laws, there are other potential dangers when downloading files via P2P. For instance, hackers know that source files on P2P networks are not being validated, so it’s easy to trick you into downloading a virus or spyware instead of the Justin Beiber video you thought you were getting.

The other major issue is the simple fact that P2P programs share your data with all of the other P2P users in cyberspace. Because of this, there is a good chance you might unknowingly share your most precious and private data with the rest of the world.

During installation, P2P programs scan your hard drive, looking for files to share. If you do not exercise caution, your entire hard drive, including any confidential documents it may contain, could be left wide open for anyone to access.

Think about the files you have on your PC right now. Are you storing documents that have your passwords, Social Security number, or bank account information? If you have P2P software on your PC, you could be targeted for identity theft.

Digging through P2P networks for my own research, I’ve uncovered tax returns, student loan applications, credit reports, and Social Security numbers. I’ve found love letters, private photos, videos, and just about anything else that can be saved as a digital file.

P2P networks have even exposed details on a U.S. Secret Service safe house for the president and his family, and revealed blueprints for President Obama’s private helicopter. While you probably don’t have state secrets stored on your PC, you should still take care to keep your sensitive files safe.

Here are some tips to protect you from accidentally sharing data on a P2P network:

The smartest way to stay safe is not to install P2P software on your computer in the first place.

If you think a family member may have installed P2P software on their computer, check for new, unfamiliar applications. A look at your “All Programs Menu” will show nearly every program on your computer. If you see one you don’t recognize, do an online search to see if it is a P2P application.

Set administrative privileges on your computer to prevent the installation of new software without your knowledge.

Use comprehensive security software such as McAfee® Total Protection and keep it up to date.

Make sure your firewall is enabled, and if an application asks you to change your settings to enable access to the Internet, don’t allow it.

P2P file sharing can be tempting, but in most cases, the costly dangers just aren’t worth it.

With more than 11 million victims just last year identity theft is a serious concern.  McAfee Identity Protection offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your financial accounts. Educate and protect yourself – please visit