LUBBOCK, Texas — Bazar Solutions of Lubbock spoke Wednesday with KLBK and EverythingLubock.com about a recent local case of internet fraud on Venmo.
CEO Mike Bazar said, “Treat the internet like it’s April fools.”
“Don’t trust anybody,” Bazar said. “They are all trying to trick you. and everyone is out to get you.”
Bazar was reacting to the case of Taylor Harper and her Godmother Rhonda Norris who were recently victims of a Venmo scam. It started with a notification that Harper thought was from her godmother.
Digital wallets like Paypal and Venmo are a popular way to transfer money, but they have also become a popular avenue for scammers.
“I got a Venmo request saying, ‘Hey can you give me 100 bucks. I left my wallet at home. I’ll give you the money when I get there,’” said Harper.
Harper didn’t think anything of the request.
“And so, I just sent the money,” said Harper.
Then around 10 minutes later Norris got call a from her youngest daughter.
“[She] says ‘Mama I only have $80 on my card,’” Norris said. Norris responded to her saying, “Well I didn’t take money off your card.”
That’s when Norris discovered someone used her name and photo to scam her two daughters and goddaughter through Venmo.
“I said ‘Baby that was not me, I didn’t ask you for any money’,” Norris said.
The scammer stole $200 and when Norris reached out to Venmo to get the money back, they were unable to help her
Venmo claims transactions of their app are like cash. If you pay someone who turns out to be a scammer, it’s almost impossible to get the money back.
“This was fraud! Somebody used my picture, my profile picture and my name to get money off of people that knew me,” said Norris.
Bazar said the way to reduce fraud is to double check.
“Make sure you verify any unknown or unsolicited contacts with another method,” Bazar said. “So, if you get an email, make a phone call. If you get a text message, make a phone call or send an email. Something like that to verify.”
Bazar also mentioned that setting your accounts to private and using any two factor authentication, when available, are also ways that you can minimize the threat of fraud.
But for Norris, she doesn’t plan on using Venmo again anytime soon.
“You really feel violated. You really do. It’s really a strange feeling and I felt responsible. I felt responsible for the girls being targeted and it really makes me angry,” said Norris