Seattle dating app scammer borrows phones, Venmos himself thousands – KIRO Seattle
Thousands of dollars are being scammed from victims after they met up with someone on a dating app.
KIRO 7 spoke with three victims and saw messages from more, where each victim shared the same story. They say they met the man on a LGBTQ dating app. When they meet in person, he says his phone has died and needs to tell his sister he’s arrived.
When the victim lets the date borrow their phone, he opens their Venmo app and sends himself thousands of dollars. The victims KIRO 7 spoke with lost between $1,500 and $5,700. Each victim got their money back, at least eventually. But they want to warn others that the scammer is still out there.
The most recent case happened on Tuesday, Jan 17.
“I am very frustrated and I feel scammed,” said Reegis Coburn. He met up with the date in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. “He said his phone had died and needed to call his sister, so I let him use my cell phone,” he said. The man claimed the call didn’t go through so he was going to send a text instead.
“But instead he hopped on my Venmo and transferred out $5,700 dollars,” Coburn said. He said he had no idea at first. The date said he was going to step out to get his phone charger, then never came back.
Venmo scammer alert!
3 victims in Seattle tell me they met a man on a LGBTQ dating app. Thief had same MO each time.
Said his phone died & needed to text his sister. Borrowed the date’s phone, opened their Venmo app, & sent himself thousands.
Venmo urging use of pin/ FaceID. pic.twitter.com/YEjMwBbo18
— Deedee Sun (@DeedeeKIRO7) January 21, 2023
“The next day I started getting alerts from my bank – and that’s when I realized and immediately started panicking,” Coburn said.
To warn other people, he posted about the scam in a LGBTQ Facebook group – and that’s when the comments started coming in from others, all sharing the same story. One of the comments was from Peter Larkin.
“He pulled the same scam with me,” Larkin read from his Facebook comment.
Larkin met up with the date in Beacon Hill back in October, and scam is the same down to every detail.
First, the man didn’t look like photo in the dating app. But when another victim circulated a doorbell camera image of the suspect, and both Larkin and Coburn recognized him right away.
Each say the scammer spun the story …….