Sellers Beware / heads up: chargebacks from CashApp, Venmo + Venmo account frozen


#1

5/12/2018 - note that I’ve updated the topic of this thread to better reflect what my situation has now evolved into. What first was a “Venmo froze my account” warning has now become a case of multiple scammers doing chargebacks against me for closed BTC for USD sales using Venmo and CashApp.

Just a heads up tho the community that Venmo may be wising up to transactions with the Bisq ID as the “reason”?

I just had my Venmo account frozen / suspended, and a withdrawal transaction to my bank (~$1200USD) cancelled / reversed. The funds now sit parked back at Venmo, where I’m unable to access them. The reason cited (pasted below) was “business activity detected” and “violation of terms of use”.

My Venmo account is about 2 years old, and has had only infrequent use occasionally sending and receiving small payments to real-life friends. This week, I started using it with Bisq - and bam, now it’s dead. I was the recipient of fiat, after selling BTC. The buyers always followed protocol and just put the Bisq TXID prefix as the reason for the payment, no mention of “bitcoin” or anything like that.

I may or may not ever get that $1200 back, but the BTC buyer I transacted with now has their BTC no problem. I’m never going to use Venmo or Paypal ever again.

Not sure how widespread this is, or if I’m just a “lucky early adopter” of new Venmo monitoring and enforcement efforts. But My advice? Do not use Venmo with Bisq.

Venmo support emails giving me the good news:

We’re writing to inform you that we’ve detected some business activity on your account, which is prohibited by our User Agreement. Venmo does not offer payment protection for business activity or transactions with people you don’t know. Therefore, engaging in these sorts of transactions can leave you vulnerable to fraudulent payments and scams, both of which can lead to financial loss. Venmo is designed for payments between friends and payments to authorized merchants. Because safety is our priority, your Venmo account has been frozen and our service will no longer be available to you.

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and appreciate your understanding. If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will do our best to answer them.

Mitchell B

Venmo Support
http://help.venmo.com
https://venmo.com

Email #2:

Your Venmo account has been suspended due to recent activity that appears to be a violation of our User Agreement.

If you would like to reactivate your account, please reply to this email with a picture of your unexpired US government issued photo identification to begin the review.

Acceptable forms of ID include a driver’s license, state ID card, passport, and green card. The name on your photo ID should match the name registered to your Venmo account. We require this information to ensure you are the legal account holder.
Thank you,
Team Venmo
PayPal is located at 2211 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95131


IMPORTANT: Cash App and Venmo payment methods have been blocked due to chargeback activity
IMPORTANT: Cash App and Venmo payment methods have been blocked due to chargeback activity
#2

Instead of Bisq TXID, could we use english words such as “yard work”, “painting”, “grass cutting”, “mom’s birthday”, “Son’s allowance”… we could generate 100 or so English words that the buyer would select from a dropdown list?


#3

Yeah, there was some discussion about it in the past.
I guess that devs just didn’t find it necessary as Bisq trade id is pretty random. I think someone said that such payment reasons are commonly used, so there is no good connection to Bisq.

OP’s problem seems to be caused by trading with previously unknown accounts.
I guess that Venmo noticed a sudden increase in use of OP’s account. With unconnected accounts, none the less.

I don’t think there is much Bisq could do in such situations except remove it as a payment method. I don’t think different payment reasons would help in this case, but I guess we could try that in future.


#4

It is the first time I hear of that. Maybe the sender of the payment was flagged as “business” and therefore you got flagged as well? Who knows the reasons of the weird decisions of fintech and banks?
I doubt that they detect Bisq ID as it could be any other purchase where a invoice ID or the like is used.
To use a meaningful word which does not represent the real reason for payment might be much more severe reason to get flagged, so I would not recommend to lie about the reason. I would say if those companies do not serve the users then we need to drop them. When they loose enough customers maybe they start to reconsider their stupid strategies…


#5

Maybe we could initiate a little BD, with banks names, memorizing such incidents.
When a problematic bank name is mentionned in a trade, some warning could be emited ?


#6

good idea! bank name + brief scenario. where would the memo “live”? in the app or on web?


#7

My suggestion is to avoid Venmo completely. My experience has been that the company shuts down accounts at the drop of a dime, don’t feel they need to give you a good reason or seem to have any obligation to refund available funds. They are the riskiest of channels so I would avoid them and their parent (paypal).


#8

OP here - a bit more info on this. Got a few more emails from Venmo and in addition to / related to my “frozen” account, multiple Bisq-related Venmo sales I conducted were apparently “charged back” to my account long after the transaction completed. Typical / common scam, not unique to Venmo at all. But it just drives home the point that Venmo / Paypal / probably other fiat-based payment methods are simply too risky to rely on for use like this. I’m out $1200, AND I’m out the BTC I sold. What a pain in the ass.

It’s not Bisq’s fault of course, it’s the weakness of the payment methods. A seller using Venmo etc. has zero protection / assurance that the buyer won’t simply do a chargeback and get the fiat transaction reversed, leaving the seller screwed out of the coin they sold.

I’m worried now that other Bisq sales I’ve done using Zelle and Cashapp methods will also be charged back to me, seems like it’s just a matter of time.

Such a bummer. Fiat transactions are one of the biggest draws to using Bisq, but they’re inherently the weakest link in the whole system and effectively render the experience useless and financially harmful to the seller. At this point I think I’m done using Bisq for anything but crypto-to-crypto transactions, which are protected by immutable multisig contracts and aren’t reversible once completed. If I need fiat, I’m just going to stick to using a full traditional exchange. :frowning:


#9

Bisq shouldn’t allow payment methods that have high risk of chargeback.
This is why Bisq doesn’t support Paypal and credit cards as payment methods.

I guess the risk of a chargeback was miscalculated in Venmo.
Maybe @Alfsbs can look into this and consider removing Venmo as a payment method.

Edit: If you have some details about the trader that did a chargeback, such as payment details or onion address at least, you can maybe send them to one of the devs to see if they can do something about it. Perhaps warn other users not to trade with that person.


#10

Crap. I called it right on the nose, unfortunately. Just now saw that CashApp is now also hitting me with “refunding deposit” chargeback messages for another 2 Bisq transactions (sales) that I did recently. My CashApp account just got drained ~$650 to cover the chargebacks.

It seems that scammers are wising up to Bisq and are utilizing the fragile payment methods to buy BTC, then waiting a few days before initiating a chargeback. So now I’ve lost ~$1200 via Venmo, and now another $650 via CashApp. Dammit.

If you’re selling on Bisq, DO NOT ACCEPT PAYMENTS USING VENMO OR CASHAPP!!! You might as well be giving away your BTC for free on pure trust that the transaction won’t be reversed on you a week later.

Waiting now to see if any of my Zelle transactions get chargebacked also.


#11

Yeah, I’m going through my Bisq history and “tagging” the transactions with the buyers who scammed me so far (using Venmo, and now - CashApp as well). Not sure how much good it’d do to alert anyone re: the specific onion address? It’s trivial for a scammer to just installl fresh / clear settings / get a new ID and start over, right?


#12

Yeah, this is a cost of a censorship resistant application.
But if you maybe have some details about their fiat accounts, maybe names or something (I am not familiar with neither Venmo nor CashApp so I don’t know what kind of details you expose during trades), that could at least warn users to avoid those specific accounts unless we figure out if we still want to support these payment methods.


#13

Edit 05/17/2018 added scammer details “account age” and “# of trades” info per @ManfredKarrer request

Sure, can’t hurt I suppose…

Here are my scammers: (so far)

Venmo - Holder name: Rhoanne De_guzman, Venmo username: Rhoanne-De-Guzman
jinspb4cs57j3o7g.onion (Venmo chargeback on TX XUI9UQ4V-bcf32c09-7e8d-41fe-aabd-d890ded199ce-06)

  • Account age as of May 17, 2018 = 19 days
  • Number of trades as of May 17, 2018 = 1

Venmo - Holder name: Amy Abbott, Venmo username: Amy-Abbott-4
trvbnoqv7vikaghm.onion
(Venmo chargeback on TX PNRCV9A-2d9afc9a-b25b-45cc-a441-22260cbf2da7-067)

  • Account age as of May 17, 2018 = 53 days
  • Number of tades as of May 17, 2018 = 3

Venmo - Holder name: Carl Aliff, Venmo username: Carl-Aliff
trvbnoqv7vikaghm.onion
(Venmo chargeback on TX HOFUZ1P6-92425aec-7ea9-4df0-a9f2-df6cfcc6fb6a-067)

<see above for account age / # of trades>

CashApp - Account: $ssl0319
4id77pz3wqbc5yrn.onion
(CashApp chargeback on TX sIWQbH-922aced7-4eb8-404e-a0a9-3a69d7b0d05e-067)
(CashApp chargeback on TX 29793082-c42d01c5-2577-4b15-a0ae-74ade9999989-067)

  • Account age as of May 17, 2018 = 53 days
  • Number of trades as of May 17, 2018 = 2

And here’s a more recent transaction I did (yesterday) that hasn’t been chargedback to me yet, but note that the buyer’s onion address is the same as two of my other confirmed scams. Odds are super high that this transaction is about to come back to hit me as well in the very near future…

CashApp - Account: $gjohnson527
trvbnoqv7vikaghm.onion
(CashApp purchase on TX 753943-d070cda9-02e9-4d53-beb9-750f06b13cb3-067)

<see above for account age / # of trades>

So clearly the scammers are using multiple payment profiles / methods, sometimes from the same onion address in my case.


#14

What a mess. I’m done using any and all methods of receiving fiat that carry a possibility of chargebacks. Which at this point leaves, what, nothing? Has anyone gotten popped with a Zelle chargeback yet? Seems that’s the next one to hit me…

I set up the following 4 fiat payment methods in Bisq and have been experimenting with both buys and sells for the past 2 months. Mixed results at best:

Venmo (got chargebacked + Venmo account frozen - lost $1,200 USD so far)
CashApp (got chargebacked, lost $650 USD so far)
Direct Deposit at Bank (failed because my bank - BofA - won’t accept deposits from anyone unless they also have a BofA account) no losses, but no sales either.
Zelle (no problems yet, but seems they’re vulnerable to chargebacks also?)

At least in the US, I’m apparently out of luck when it comes to finding a safe online service to allow fiat transactions for use with Bisq. So far Zelle has been the only 100% successful method, but I’m not holding my breath…

I’m done using Bisq for fiat transactions. The scammer chargebacks and bank restrictions are killing it.


#15

To be honest, this is maybe the second time that we ever had a chargeback in Bisq.
And you seem to have gotten a chargeback multiple times in just last couple of days, quite a bad luck you have there, if anything.

Zelle is an older payment method that Bisq has been using for a long time, I doubt you will be having any issues with it. Venmo is quite new in comparison, as far as I remember.


#16

I’ve made 38 trades total on Bisq, mostly sells, since I started using it in March 2018.

5 chargebacks since May 4th.


#17

Thanks for your detailed reports!
Can you PM me asap?


#18

Is the .onion address immutable over sessions ?
Isn’t it just enough to reboot bisq to get another .onion adress ?


#19

At the moment, there is great need for fiat<->crypto exchanges,
but the future growth of bisq is maybe indeed more in crypto<->crypto.
Chargeback is rather easy and if the word spreads, many people maybe tempted.
A. Antonopolous has produced a video (link was given here) where he warns specifically about that
… some bad people may well have also seen the video and well catch the point.


#20

No they don’t change. They are your network ID.