DECATUR, Ga. (CBS46) – On Tuesday, Matthew Groh was running along the Decatur Greenway when a man stopped him asking to borrow his phone.
“I heard him shout, ‘hey man can you help me,” said Groh, in an interview with CBS46 on Thursday.
Groh said the man told him he was locked out of his house, late for work, and needed to call a coworker.
Groh said he initially held onto his phone and dialed a number before putting the phone on speakerphone. But then the man explained he needed to text someone.
“At that point, I shouldn’t have let the phone out of my hand, but I did,” Groh said.
Within two minutes, Groh later realized, the man had transferred more than $3,000 out of his Venmo account.
“This guy just stole 3,000 dollars from me when I tried to stop and help him. And I fell for it,” he said.
Groh showed CBS46 the transaction of $3,080 he later found in his email.
The money was sent to a “Raven Simone,” presumably a fake account named after the actor famously on the Disney Channel.
“There was definitely some swear words. My heart sunk,” Groh said.
Groh reported the crime to the DeKalb County Police Department and filed a fraud report with Venmo. A spokesperson for the DeKalb County Police told CBS46 news they are investigating the incident.
“The investigation is ongoing as the suspect has not been identified,” said a police spokesperson.
After he handed the phone back, Groh said the man jumped in a black SUV and drove off.
An apartment manager at a nearby apartment complex told CBS46 News that their residents had been targeted in a similar scam. The complex manager said they sent an email to residents cautioning them about handing over their phone to strangers.
CBS46 also highlighted a similar scam targeting Target customers in northeast Atlanta.
“You’re being a Good Samaritan and suddenly you don’t have money to live on for the week,” said Colin Fite, who was a victim at the Target. “This could really ruin somebody’s life.”
Venmo said they have not seen an increase in scams using the app.
“The security and privacy of all Venmo users and their information has always been a top company priority,” said a company spokesperson on Thursday.
Venmo said they advise their customers to enable a touch ID and PIN as well as a complete multi-factor authentication.
“Venmo has a number of options in place providing customers the ability to enable enhanced layers of security to help further protect their accounts directly within the app,” the spokesperson continued.
After CBS46 News reached out about Groh’s scam investigation, a Venmo spokesperson said they had positively resolved the matter.
Late Thursday, Groh told CBS46 News that he received a full refund from Venmo for the fraudulent transaction.
Venmo says if you suspect you were the target of a scam, contact Customer Service directly.
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