Venmo, a popular mobile payment app, is a great way to pay back your friends for picking up the tab, but you better be careful what you type into the memo field when you send or request money.
Adam Johnson, a writer at AlterNet, found out that typing in certain keywords – like, say, “iced coffee obama nsa inside job syria” – will get your payment flagged:
Lol, my friend made a goofy note on a venmo payment and venmo contacted him 4 months later asking security questions pic.twitter.com/L28FNPUlwm
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) October 22, 2015
It is nothing new forfriends to insert funny reasons for payments, but joking about a sanctioned country is off limits.
“To minimize account interruptions, we are reaching out to Venmo users on an individual basis to inquire about posts,” aVenmo spokesperson told Business Insider. “As you probably know, Syria is a sanctioned country and we are obligated to follow up when we see payments that are related to a sanctioned country, individual or entity.”
As Valleywag reported last year, this isn’t the first time Venmo has questioned a post. The company froze the account of a user when she mistakenly added “Ahmed” in her memo line, which Venmo claimed was on the Treasury Department’s list of suspected terrorists, drug runners, and money launderers.
So if you and your friends have a twisted sense of humor, it’s probably best to stay away from jokes about sending money to places or people you shouldn’t be.