Biden's Venmo account was reportedly tracked down within minutes

The payments app reportedly has contact lists publicly accessible by default, making it easy to track users down.

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Reporters were able to track down US President Joe Biden's Venmo account within 10 minutes of searching on the payments app, BuzzFeed News reported Friday. Calling it a national security issue, BuzzFeed News said it was able to see the president's network of contacts on Venmo, including his children, grandchildren and senior White House officials.

Many of the accounts were taken down after BuzzFeed News reached out to the White House, it reported. None of the president's transactions were public, but Venmo users have friend lists usually comprised of phone contacts that are reportedly public by default.

"President Biden's transactions were not public and he had fewer than 10 friends on Venmo," BuzzFeed News reported Friday. "But he was easily verifiable given the people he was connected to, including an account that appears to be for his wife, First Lady Jill Biden. Jill Biden's account, in turn, was linked to various aides, senior Biden staffers and family members, including an account that appears to be for Hunter Biden."

In a statement, Venmo said it takes its responsibility to user safety and privacy. 

"Customers always have the ability to make their transactions private and determine their own privacy settings in the app," Venmo said. "We're consistently evolving and strengthening the privacy measures for all Venmo users to continue to provide a safe, secure place to send and spend money."

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.