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NYC woman shares story about scam involving Venmo on TikTok. What she and nearly a dozen others say happened to them

NYC woman says 2 teens scammed her out of $2,500 on Venmo
NYC woman says 2 teens scammed her out of $2,500 on Venmo 02:26

NEW YORK -- A New York City woman says she lost over $2,000 in a scam involving Venmo after two teenagers approached her asking for a donation.

She shared her story on TikTok, where it's been viewed tens of thousands of times, and now, more people are coming forward saying they fell for the same scam.

NYC woman falls victim

Gabriela Martin, a corporate attorney, says she was at a park near Broadway and Liberty in the Financial District on Monday when two teenagers approached her and said they were collecting donations for their sports team.

"I don't have cash, but when they said Venmo, I said OK, maybe I'll give them a dollar, maybe I'll give them five dollars," Martin said.

Martin says when she opened the Venmo app, one of the teenagers took the phone from her hand.

"I knew something was wrong ... I thought my phone was being stolen," she said.

One teenager held her cell phone while the other made small talk. Seconds later, as they walked off, Martin looked at her app and saw they had transferred $2,500.

"It was like a life-altering experience, I think," Martin said.

The New York City Police Department tells CBS New York no arrests have been made. Martin's case remains open.

Venmo has already given Martin a refund.

TikTok video warns of scam

Martin says she posted her own warning about the scam on TikTok.

"I feel really violated and dirty and on edge about this," she says in the video.

Her video has gotten nearly 40,000 views. Martin says not all the comments have been supportive, but she still wants to share her story.

"If I can prevent this from happening for just one woman, I think it will have made making this TikTok worth it," she said.

On TikTok, Martin asked other victims to reach out to her. She says she has a list of 10 alleged victims in the Financial District, and others reported it happening in Williamsburg and other parts of the city.

In April, detectives in the city's First Precinct warned residents about this exact scam, telling them to hold onto their phones.

Venmo responds to NYC scam

A Venmo representative told CBS New York they have zero tolerance for fraud.

They recommend customers enable Face ID and a PIN as an extra layer of protection.

If you do get scammed, Venmo says contact them directly to report it. 

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