Local teen warns how Venmo hacker nearly stole thousands in college savings

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Posted at 4:38 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 18:29:38-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— Jordan Wooley realized something was wrong when she heard dozens of notifications going off on her phone while she was at work.

“My mom called me and she’s like, ‘Why did you just withdraw all of this money from your account?' I was like, 'I don’t know what you’re talking about,’” Jordan said.

Then, the threats started coming.

“They found my house address and were like 'I will come to your house and beat you up,' and, 'I’m going to kill you,' and all of that stuff. I was like, 'I don’t have your money, please don’t blame the victim.'”

It all started with a phone call Tuesday. Jordan says it was someone claiming to work at Venmo, “saying that they noticed that someone was trying to hack into my account.”

The 17-year-old says the thief sent a text with a link to change her password on the money transfer app.

She clicked the link, changed it, and from that moment the scammer was in. They got to work quickly, attempting to steal her college savings, over $2,000.

Jordan was just one of many victims.

“They used her account as a mule account to not only withdraw money directly from her checking account and try to drain it, but also to siphon money from other peoples’ Venmo accounts,” said Jordan’s mom Chantel Wooley.

The scammer hacked several others and used Jordan’s account to steal more than $4,500 from people she never met.

“People were like, 'You stole my money; I want it back.' Like, threatening me, and I was like, 'I don’t have your money, we were all hacked,'” Jordan said.

She quickly called her bank, contacted police and took her debit card off the app.

The fraud transaction is still pending with her bank, but she thinks her money is safe.

Venmo is aware of the fraud, but the family is frustrated, saying they had to contact the company several times before it started to look into the issue.

When Venmo did send her links for help, it came from the same number the hacker used, and the messages were nearly identical.

Her advice to others: “I just say, be careful and really make sure you know who has your saved payment information.”