WARNING: Scammers are targeting your Venmo account

Uptick in Venmo scams draining bank accounts, police say

ATLANTA — Police are asking for your help in tracking down thieves who use a popular smartphone app to steal thousands of dollars right from people's bank accounts.

We first told you about this last month but since then, police said they've seen an increase in similar incidents.

Channel 2's Michael Seiden spoke to investigators who said what they initially thought was an isolated incident is spreading across metro Atlanta.

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The scam targeted at least one woman at a MARTA station and now multiple police departments, including Dunwoody, are asking for the public's help.

Police said the thieves ask to borrow a targeted person's phone but instead of making a call but instead of making a call, they use the money transfer app Venmo to steal thousands of dollars from bank accounts.


A midtown Atlanta woman told Seiden she was trying to lend a helping hand to a stranger. Instead, he used her phone and took out $2,000.

"I got a notice from my bank that there was overdraft on my account and I knew I had plenty of money for all the things I spent money on," Vanessa Lira said when we spoke to her back in October.

Seiden has reviewed hundreds of police reports from metro Atlanta police departments and found several victims who reported similar stories.

Brandon Snell isn't a victim, but said that as a frequent user of Venmo, he was shocked to learn about this scam.

It's scam that's now the focus of criminal investigations throughout metro Atlanta, including Dunwoody where last week, the city's Police Department took to Facebook to post a warning to its residents.

Investigators responded to the MARTA station where police said a thief approached a 24-year-old woman and asked to use her phone to call his sister.

But instead, he used the victim's Venmo app to transfer $2,000 to himself.

“That’s sad. It’s sad people do that," said Samantha Fish.

Right now, police are still looking to identify suspects.

To protect yourself from becoming a target, learn more here