Venmo Is Under Fire for Sharing Location Data to Third-Party Company
The payment app Venmo is once again under fire for privacy issues. Jefferson Graham of USA Today discovered that his home address was shared after a Venmo payment to his personal trainer.
Graham said his settings were set to private, but Venmo still sent his location and trainer’s name to a third-party data collection firm called Braze. It’s unclear what specific services Braze provides, but the company brands itself as a “customer engagement platform” that “helps brands foster human connections with consumers.”
Graham worked with the Chief Technology Officer of Disconnect, a company that monitors how information is shared online. They discovered that weight-loss app Noom and a China-based Solitaire app were also sharing his personal data. However, PayPal only collected ‘minor’ information, such as the type of device used to access the app. PayPal acquired Venmo in 2013.
Venmo’s privacy issues were brought to light in 2018, when a researcher in Berlin collected data for over 200 million transactions. Last year, a separate researcher scraped an additional 7 million transactions over a six month period. Venmo’s default account settings are public, so users are encouraged to change their settings to private.
As an extra precaution, turn off the location settings on your phone while using Venmo to avoid having your information shared to third-parties.