Scammer borrows phone, steals more than $1.4K through Venmo app

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte woman has a warning for others after she was unknowingly scammed face-to-face while trying to do a good deed.

Brooke Carlson said she was having coffee with a friend when a man came up and asked if he could borrow her phone to call his mom because his phone was dead.

"He said 'Do you mind if I go out to the car? I need to find this phone number. And I'll even leave my wallet on the table so you know I'm coming back,'" Carlson said.

She said yes. Minutes later, she said the man came back, returned her phone, took his wallet, and left.

An hour later, Carlson said she opened the popular money-transfer app Venmo.

She said her account had a balance of $1,430 when she last checked.

"When I looked in it, it was an account balance of zero. So, he had wiped me clean," Carlson said.

Carlson said a Venmo representative told her the balance had been transferred to a new debit card that was then deleted from the account and it was an untraceable temporary card.

"It's awful to scam anyone, but at least online, there's no face. He was so sweet. He was a very good actor. He was very comfortable with what he was doing," Carlson said.

Carlson said she had been saving that money to buy a wedding dress for her upcoming wedding. She said she kept the money in the Venmo app so she would not be tempted to spend it.

She said after this, she has a warning for others.

"Put security on all your apps. You can also hide them. You can put them in files that are hidden," Carlson said.

Carlson said she shared her warning on social media and said so many people wanted to help her, that she received donations from loved ones and strangers to still buy her wedding dress.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Venmo are both looking into this case.

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