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Scammers targeting students to borrow phone, steal money, UNCC police say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There’s a new warning about scammers targeting people's kindness and phone to steal money.

The UNC Charlotte Police and Public Safety Department says it has received several reports of the scam.

Here's how it works:

  • Police say people are being approached by strangers asking the use their cellphones.
  • The stranger usually says their phone is dead, and they need to call their doctor or parents.
  • Once they get the phone, they try to access Venmo and other apps to wire money to their accounts.

"I'd probably be like, ‘I'm sorry, I'm on my way to class. I can't right now,'" one student told Channel 9.

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"I'd probably let someone use my phone if they, like, needed to get somewhere, needed to get some help. I wouldn't really second guess it and think that they would try to steal anything from me," said another.

One student told Channel 9 it hasn't happened to him on campus, but he has been approached nearby.

"Like the Harris Teeter over by campus, people come up in the parking lot or the Walmart right on North Tryon in the parking lot. People will ask in the parking lot if they can call their mom and dad," said Christian Bray.

According to campus police, similar scams have been reported throughout Charlotte.

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"You have to be really careful about helping people, and we shouldn't have to really be concerned about that," student Rachel Snyder told Channel 9.

Police say if you are approached, don't give them your phone. You could instead consider offering to dial the number yourself. And if this has happened, call campus police.

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