Man Claims App Blocked Payment Because He Used Word ‘Persian'

Using an online payment app seems innocent enough, but some are being caught up in the global war on terror by trying to send a friend a quick payment for a party.

It happened to one Los Angeles man whose payment was blocked because he used the word Persian.

"I was offended as an Iranian American that it would be blocked," said Arman Ghorbani

He was also surprised by Venmo, the quick payment app he had been using for years.

He tried to send money to a friend in LA to pay for his share of their Persian New Year celebrations.

He wrote Persian New Year as the reason for payment and got an email from the app.

"I was surprised they would flag the word like Persian," he said.

The app said rules by the federal government force them and other companies to crack down on transfers that could be going to terrorist groups or supporters.

The agency has a list of 963 pages of people, countries and groups that are banned from receiving transfers.

Companies like Venmo also use filters to flag potential transfers.

On social media, some say those filter are blocking words like Iran, Iranian and in one case Dash.

"Some guy was walking a dog named Dash," he said. It was blocked because they thought it was Dashil, another word for ISIS.

Ghorbani ultimately got his payment sent by using a different reason.

"Hookers and hard drugs! That went through fine," he said. "Didn't get flagged and was completely OK."

After communicating with Venmo, Ghorbani said it has agreed to refine its filter.

But he thinks the policy is pointless.

Venmo did not return a call seeking comment.

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