SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - A Cleveland Indians fan says he was scammed out of hundreds of dollars after he sold his World Series tickets online for profit.
Jim Sustar of Shaker Heights thought everything was good to go when the money showed up in his Venmo account.
Venmo is a free digital wallet that can be used on your smart phone.
The problem is the money didn't transfer into his bank account before he gave away his World Series tickets.
Sustar was thrilled when the Cleveland Indians made it to the World Series.
The season ticket holder bought four tickets to Game 1, two for him and two to sell.
"On Craigslist I got a guy text me from a Chicago area code that he was interested in buying," Sustar said.
He bought the tickets at $150 apiece and was expecting to pocket a pretty penny.
"We agreed on a price of $950 per ticket, so $1,900 total, and he immediately sent it to me and I got a Venmo notification, 'you got $1,900 in your account,'" Sustar said.
So Sustar hit "transfer" to send the money to his bank account and sent the tickets electronically to the buyer.
The next day, he was surprised to see the money never actually made it to his bank account.
"I got an email from Venmo that says 'your transaction was canceled, the money was sent back to the buyer due to the fact that we don't support business transactions,'" Sustar said.
Most people think Venmo transfers the cash instantly, but that isn't the case.
The notification from Venmo that you've been paid means it's scheduled to transfer the next business day.
In the meantime, scammers could be at work canceling the transfer after you've already turned over the goods.
Sustar doesn't think he'll get the money back, but he wants to warn you to think twice before selling your tickets online.
"There's gotta be hundreds of people that have fallen for the same thing. Anytime you get that visual alert you got the money, why would you not have it then?" he said.
Venmo said the following statement to Cleveland 19 News:
"Venmo is designed for payments between friends and people who trust each other, which is clearly detailed in our User Agreement. Our website also cautions users to avoid payments to people they don't know, especially if it involves a sale for goods and services (like event tickets and Craigslist items). These payments are potentially high risk, and users could lose money without getting what they paid for. At this time, Venmo does not offer buyer or seller protection and business usage of Venmo requires an application and explicit authorization. This recent alert from the BBB may also be a helpful resource to share with viewers."
A spokesman for Venmo said the company could not comment on this specific case, but went on to say that it is possible the buyer used a stolen card or bank account when sending money.
The owner of the stolen card or bank account then may have filed a claim when they saw the charge.
In a case like that, the company says, the issuer or bank, not Venmo, determines whether the dispute is valid and to whom payment is due.
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