ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - Washington University police are investigating after a female student reported that $1,500 was withdrawn from a bank account after receiving a ride from someone who claimed to be an Uber driver Monday night.
“That’s scary, yeah, I didn’t think about that happening,” said Kendall Pomerleau, a Washington University student who was not the victim.
According to police, the student was catching a ride back to the Hitzeman House dormitory in the 6500 block of Wydown Boulevard shortly before midnight. She asked someone in a car if he was an Uber driver and the man told her that he was.
Apparently, the fake Uber driver got possession of her phone at some point and transferred $1,500 out of her bank account using the Venmo app.
Venmo allows users to transfer money to other people or make purchases by connecting the app to a credit card or a bank account. Recently, Uber added Venmo as an additional way to pay.
Washington University police chief Mark Glenn stresses to students to protect the information on their phones.
“In today’s world, many people think of a cellphone as a cellphone but it’s really a purse or a wallet and contains a lot of your banking information and you have to protect it that way,” said Glenn.
In order to avoid falling victim to a fraudulent driver, Uber users are reminded that an Uber doesn’t show up on its own and has to be called through the app.
Also riders are encouraged to check the car description, license, driver name and driver photo that’s on the app and compare the information to the Uber driver that arrives. Riders are encouraged not to give their names to the driver but to ask the driver to state who they came to pick up.