PSA for US Congressmen: Here’s How to Set Your Venmo Feed to Private

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Hi, yes, it has come to my attention that Matt Gaetz has left his Venmo feed public and The everyday beast has used this public feed for report a dirty story about his transactions.

Yes, you read that right. His Venmo feed was public

People have warned about Venmo’s public feeds for quite some time. You can learn a lot about a person by tracking their financial transactions through Venmo! In Gaetz’s case, we found out that he was sending money – $ 900, in two transactions – to Joel Greenberg, who is accused of sex trafficking. The morning after Gaetz sent money, Greenberg sent three young women sums of money totaling … $ 900.

I didn’t think this needed to be said, but here we are: if you have a Venmo account and you’re a congressman, please do me a solid and check your security settings. You might think, “Liz, why should you as a reporter discourage transparency?” Well, because reporters aren’t the only ones snooping around. Next time it might be a state actor collecting harmful information! A public Venmo feed, mostly one with questionable transactions is a powerful way to gather personal information – who you spend the most time with, what you do together, and so on.

Here’s how: go to the Venmo app on your phone. Press on the hamburger menu. Then tap on ‘settings’. Then tap on ‘privacy’. You will be presented with three options and the option you want is “private” so that only you and the person you are dealing with will see the transaction. I think you could put it on “friends,” but you’re a US Congressman, so you might have friends who leak to the press. Just say it.

Now you have to do something else: hide everything that is public from the past. Go to “privacy” and under “past transactions” set everything to private.

This is infosec 101! Include this article in the next national safety briefing. Obviously, Congress needs to hear it.