Local woman, SAPD warn of mobile payment app scams

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman is sounding the alarm after she was scammed out of her hard-earned money while trying to sell something online.

Patricia Doria-Moreno has used a popular neighborhood app to buy and sell things, such as some garden pots, for cash. But to be neighborly, she agreed to take a mobile payment.

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“I’ve always been so cautious, and for some reason, this happened,” Doria-Moreno said.

She says the conversation for a transaction for less than $50 moved from the mobile app to email. She says that’s when she fell for the scam of a well-written email with a popular mobile app logo on it for a lot of money.

“I saw where he sent the money, but I didn’t get the money in Cash App,” Doria-Moreno said. “He stopped it from coming through to my account by sending me a fake email with the Venmo logo on it. What drew my attention (was) when he continued to ask for more money. I was like, ‘No, I’m not going to give this man more money.’”

Doria-Moreno reported it to the police and contacted her financial institutions. But she’s sharing her story to warn others to be alert and guarded.

“Nobody wants to get scammed,” she said. “It’s a bad feeling. Yeah, it’s a terrible feeling.”

San Antonio police say these scams involving mobile payment apps are trending. They urge people who are scammed to report the crime to police.

Officer Ricardo Guzman says only use mobile payments with people you know and trust.

“It is easy to become a victim of these things, but just be aware of it being out there, Guzman said. “Don’t be so trustworthy with every single text that you get, every single email that you get. Really look into it. Think twice before you start clicking links.”

Jason Meza of the Better Business Bureau says there has also been an increase in problems involving these types of scams.

“We’ve seen a lot of money lost, thousands lost every year due to peer-to-peer payments,” Meza said.

He also echoes that mobile payments should only be made with known friends and family to avoid being scammed.

“A lot of them have zero liability policies for fraud cases, meaning unauthorized payments,” Meza said. “They’ll reimburse customers for most of that. But you’ve got to prove fraud took place in the first place, and that’s an uphill battle.”

There are many warnings and red flags to look for. Companies like Venmo and Cash App offer tips online to protect users.

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