Although technically not a social “networking” app, the amount of information that can be milked from Venmo transactions has created a flood of cautionary tales. People advise against oversharing on the platform from both personal anecdotes as well as countless publicized scandals.
Matt Gaetz had a public Venmo oversharing scandal of his own.
Just a few years ago, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz was brought to justice by years of Venmo transactions supporting allegations of sex-for-cash with minors that were otherwise in question. The transactions were initially set to "Public," which shows the utter shamelessness of Gaetz and sex-trafficker Joel Greenberg, his best friend on Venmo.
So here we put some of the best detectives in the field up against a simple Venmo search, and the Venmo history single handedly put this man in a very bad light.
This app was not meant to be for oversharing, nor does it provide substantial information into another person’s life. Or does it?
One woman used Venmo oversharing to stalk her ex.
Jackie Kenny claims she is the furthest from a social media addict yet in her account of stalking her ex, she proves that all she needed to pique her interest was a pattern of Venmo transactions.
She finds herself down the rabbit hole of ex obsession through subtle leads from transaction labels like “Uber and lazy” and three heart emojis. Noticing a recurrence in the name, she needed nothing else to confirm that this “Jennifer” person her ex was Venmo parading around had to be the new woman in his life.
“How much pain will I feel in these 49 indulgent seconds scrolling through Venmo before my better self screams in horror — WHAT ARE YOU DOING — and rips me out of the app with two quick home clicks, a swipe up, and a facepalm?” she wondered.
Sure it may be satisfying to know one little something for sure when your mind is playing the what-if game, but it never ends there. Her ex is probably and unknowingly still putting his every move out there for her to track.
This same internet that gives us access to the world constantly admonishes our oversharing. Tweets galore instruct us to adjust privacy settings, while stories of people getting caught for one little slip of the wrist give us the shock we need to stay low-key.
It is still a mystery why people make their transactions public to begin with. Are you rubbing it in someone’s face that you paid for peaches — but wait, that peach emoji can mean…nevermind, there goes that rabbit hole again.
Or maybe our species has this need to be cryptic and feel important, almost as if we get a rise out of being “stalk-worthy." It isn’t so much that our lives are actually interesting, but we want them to seem that way so desperately.
Surely advertising a cleverly-labeled Venmo transaction will bring on the secret admirers. Just remember that it is 2023, and not everyone who wants to know what you are up to actually likes you. You could even be outing a friend for financial hardships amidst your hay stack of petty transactions…collateral damage.