Venmo, the popular payments app owned by PayPal, is delaying some transactions for up to 96 hours due to a misinterpretation of a popular internet acronym. Originally reported by The Verge, sending the phrase “idek” along with a payment flags it and requires the transaction be reviewed, with the payment held in limbo in the meantime.
On the internet, “idek” is a popular acronym that stands for “I don’t even know,” a totally benign phrase. Unfortunately it could also be interpreted as an abbreviation for “Islami Dawat-e-Kafela,” a pseudonym that The Verge points out is used by the radical Islamic organisation Harakat Ul-Jihad-i-Islami.
To ensure that the money being sent isn’t being used for nefarious purposes, the payment is flagged, and if it’s deemed OK, it’s eventually completed.
We tested this out and confirmed that typing “idek” does in fact cause your transaction to be flagged, so this is an ongoing issue. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of information out there for people who run into this unexpectedly, the “learn more” button on the flagged transaction page is currently broken.
Venmo had this to say about the delayed payments, in a statement provided to The Verge.
“We need to ensure that we are also moving money to and from people in a way that complies with regulations that are designed to protect our national safety, economy, and security,” Venmo said.