The mobile-payment app Venmo makes all transactions public by default. This is done in the interest of transparency, but it also means that anyone can see who you've paid and who's paid you. This data can also be "scraped" and aggregated into databases of Venmo transactions.
One researcher, Dan Salmon of Minnesota State University, last week said he managed to collect 7 million Venmo transactions over the course of six months.
If this sounds familiar, it may be because a year ago, data researcher Hang Do Thi Duc built up a huge database of 200 million Venmo transactions just to prove how public the Venmo ecosystem was. Venmo subsequently limited the rate at which public data could be collected, but it didn't stop data collection entirely.
The only way to stop your Venmo transactions from being public is, obviously, to set them to private. Here's how:
How to Make Venmo Transactions Private
1. Go into Settings.
2. Click on Privacy.
3. Change your default privacy settings to Private.
You can also take two further steps to make this apply to all past transactions.
4. Click on Past Transactions.
5. Select Change All to Private.
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Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at FoxNews.com, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.