An Investigator’s Journey With Venmo — From Supernatural writers to celebrities.
We live in a new world. People share their daily activities on Twitter and post pictures of their family and work and home on Facebook. Now it seems they want to share their financial history on Venmo. This is fantastic for people in the investigative world and not so fantastic for everyone else.
I have found several people who have their friends and transactions wide open. I know where they live, who they’re dating, where they bank and more. This doesn’t cost me anything and requires very little time. I have a Venmo account and with that I can find so much. Let’s see what celebrities I can find.
Just a quick disclaimer before we go down this rabbit hole. This article is not intended to be taken as an instructional guide or as a statement of fact. The content published in this article is true to the best of my knowledge while taking the steps described herein. I do not guarantee the accuracy of any statements published in this article.
Starting with a simple IMDB search on Supernatural, I ended up here —
I decided to first try my hand at some of the writers. “Eric Kripke” has a unique enough name. 1 result showed up for him and his Venmo profile picture seems to match with his online profile:
There’s no transactions to be seen, but I do see 88 friends listed. I began looking for friends that matches the IMDB list and found “Jenny Klein.” She was listed as another writer for Supernatural.
There’s only 4 transactions and it looks like it’s from a relative. She has 155 friends. Let’s see if we can’t find a celebrity in her friend’s list. I’ll be honest, I’m not great with celebrity names, but I know a few being a fan of the series.
Misha Collins — Played an Angel.
Misha does have his transactions open and transactions from this year. Let’s take a look.
Here we see who Misha paid for nursing, his security “goon” and last but not least, his trainer. Not bad. He has 175 friends. Let’s continue down this rabbit hole.
Rob Benedict — Played God.
Rob’s transactions are private, but he has 271 friends. Shall we continue further?
Ruth Connell — Played a witch. There’s a number of transactions from 2016–2018 and 208 friends.
At this point I’ve found 2 writers and 3 celebrities. We could keep going, but I think you see the power of this investigative method. From politicians to celebrities, it’s all out there for everyone to see. Given the current climate of publishing one’s entire life online, it’s probably going to get easier for people conducting investigations, but worse for people’s overall privacy.
If you want to secure your Venmo, you only need to take 2 steps. First, eliminate your friend’s list. You can’t make your friend’s list private, so get rid of it completely.
Friends are acquired in 3 ways. They can be added manually, imported from your phone contact’s list or your Facebook friend’s list. You don’t need people to see your contacts.
Then go to settings and privacy. Change your default setting to private. Click on past transactions and then change all to private.
Venmo can be a great tool for conducting quick transactions, but be responsible with it. Don’t sacrifice convenience for security.