Much like yelling “I have a bomb!” in front of a police officer, using certain words or phrases online can often end badly. Now we have one more slangy acronym to add to the list of shit you can’t say on the internet.
The Verge reports that typing “idek”—short for “I don’t even know”—into the memo box in Venmo is a great way to get your transaction put on hold. The outlet was contacted by various tipsters who had discovered the phenomenon, but it was also able to independently confirm it by running its own test.
Gizmodo, too, received the same result when we tried it out:
So why is a perfectly innocuous acronym causing so much drama? A Venmo representative pointed to the company’s desire to help protect national security. “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,” a spokeswoman said in a statement emailed to Gizmodo. In other words, terrorism!
She added that the company keeps track of any behavior that flies in the face of American trade sanctions, as well as activity that might tie into the Specially Designated Nationals list, a lineup of individuals or groups associated with terror or drug trafficking activity, among other things.
In this context, “idek” is actually an acronym for Islami Dawat-e-Kafela, also known as Harakat Ul-Jihad-i-Islami—a known terrorist group. In other words, your lack of a creative description is making the Venmo sensors peg you as a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer.
This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen Venmo monitor for supposed terror-related activity: You also can’t joke about Syria or use the name Ahmed. You should probably just stop using it altogether.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.