CHARLOTTE, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Imagine losing thousands of dollars in a matter of seconds. That’s what happened to one North Carolina man at a Charlotte bar on Friday night.
Rob Gilliam is warning everyone of a simple peer-to-peer payment scam that cost him thousands of dollars.
“It happened so quick. I mean, you’re talking less than two minutes and the guy wiped me for $4,500,” said Gilliam.
Surveillance video shows an unknown man walking up to Gilliam and his friends at 10:38 p.m. Gilliam says the man asked to borrow his phone to call his sister.
“He said that his sister had left with his phone, and he needed to get her to come back and pick him up,” he said.
After making a call to an Atlanta-area number, the man told Gilliam he was having trouble hearing and needed to text his sister instead.
“It wasn’t until Sunday that I realized he had venomed himself $4,430,” said Gilliam.
Less than five minutes later, the same man is seen walking up to another table, asking a woman to borrow her phone. Fortunately, the bar owner says the woman did not have a Venmo account and was therefore safe from the scam. Surveillance footage shows the man walking up to at least three different groups in the span of 10 minutes.
“In my case, I was genuinely trying to help somebody out that I thought was in need. And now I regret it,” said Gilliam.
As he works to get his money recovered, he learned of a Venmo safety feature that would have saved him a lot of money. The feature, located in the settings menu of the app, allows users to require a FaceID or fingerprint every time the app is opened.
“I had no idea that this was a scam going on. I reached out to [Queen City News] because I want to get the word out. Lock your Venmo,” warned Gilliam.
Gilliam filed a police report with CMPD, has called his bank to dispute the charges, and has contacted to Venmo to try to get the funds returned to his account.