Kansas City police warn of new scam hitting Venmo users

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- Venmo has become a very popular way to pay easily pay people for goods and services.

Because it's become so popular with users, Venmo is now also popular with scammers.

"It's nothing really new. We have seen it come in different forms or fashions,” Lance Shriner said, with Integral Computer Repair Services.

They're called phishing scams, and what's new about this one is that it's a text to your phone from Venmo saying your account is about to be charged. If you want to cancel the withdrawal, you're supposed to click a link to decline it.

'"At the end of the day, the worst thing you can do is click on the link," Shriner said.

That link allows users to enter any phone number and password combination, takes them to a dummy site that looks just like Venmo’s and verifies them by having the victim enter bankcard or other financial information.

If you enter a standard email and password used on other accounts, you could be in even more trouble.

“They could take that email and password and use that to phish different account information across the board. Facebook, LinkedIn, pretty much anything across the sun," Shriner said.

Police across the country are warning of this scam, hoping to prevent people from becoming victims.

“Our unit in particular in the city of Kansas City handles approximately 4,000 reports a year so that is a lot of people and that is just the people who report it," said Detective Lori Meadors with KCPD’s Economic Crimes Section.

Many cases go unreported and this one Venmo scam could target up to 40 million users. Instead of clicking on the link, experts say go to the app or website and ask the company directly to check your account.

"We have a lot of people realize pretty much when they hit the send button that they have made a mistake,” Meadors said. “We tell them that before you do anything go ahead and call the bank or the credit card company and let then know immediately to cancel that card.”

In the Venmo app, users can disconnect cards from the account, but by that time, the scammer most likely already has the banking information.

Victims can can always call the local police department to report these types of scams, but they cannot do much about it most of the time.

The FBI has a website where you can report these types of scammers here.

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