American beauty queen Briana Siaca sounds alarm after falling victim to very common Zelle scam

The former Miss New York got scammed out of thousands in an NYC parkShe's now gone viral warning other New Yorkers about the thieves who got her 

A former beauty queen has amassed hundreds of thousands of views on a video she shared describing a Zelle scam she fell victim to in the middle of New York City.

Briana Siaca, formerly Miss New York USA and currently a real estate agent with the Corcoran Group, posted a video to TikTok describing a recent encounter she had with two young scammers.

In her PSA warning to susceptible New Yorkers, she said that she'd been listening to a podcast in Madison Square Park when two teenage boys approached her and said they were 'fundraising for their basketball team.'

'They allegedly play in South Bronx and can’t afford their uniforms, and they were giving me the whole spiel,' said the Long Island native.

'I agreed to give them some money but I didn’t have any cash on me so they accepted Venmo and Zelle,' she continued, adding that the teens told her they preferred Zelle over Venmo.

Briana Siaca, formerly Miss New York USA, was scammed out oof $2,000 by two teens in the middle of Madison Square Park

Briana Siaca, formerly Miss New York USA, was scammed out oof $2,000 by two teens in the middle of Madison Square Park

@bri.nyc

#madisonsquarepark #nycscam #nycscammer #nypd #basketballteamscam #nycrobbery

♬ original sound - Bri Siaca

She said she then pulled out her phone and asked them where she could send the money.

One of the boys told her he'd be happy to plug the information into her device for her, which she agreed to and handed him her phone while she made conversation with the other teen.

At some point, Siaca realized the teen with her phone had been taking an unusually long time to key in his account information and grabbed her phone back from him.

The teens then thanked her and hurried off before she got a chance to look at what they'd done.

'I looked at my Zelle account and they sent themselves $2,000,' she told her followers.

'I’m shocked. It feels kind of like a scary dream because these boys were so seemingly sweet and innocent and charming and I thought it was really brave they were going around raising money for their team,' she said.

Siaca said she was approached by two teen boys in the middle of the park while she was alone listening to a podcast

Siaca said she was approached by two teen boys in the middle of the park while she was alone listening to a podcast

Siaca said she contacted her bank but there doesn't seem to be much they can do - once Zelle transactions are sent it is very difficult to retrieve the digital cash without the recipient sending it back directly.

She said she reported the theft to the local NYPD precinct and that officers there were 'beyond helpful'.

They told her 'kids have been scamming people all around the city, in New York City parks, Barclays Center and like, they are out and about scamming people, sending Venmo and Zelles to themselves,' she said.

NYC law enforcement officials have warned New Yorkers and tourists to be hyper-vigilant about these scams, which often involve relatively unassuming looking teenagers soliciting donations for youth sports leagues or other extra-curricular activities via popular cash-apps.

The now-member of the Corcoran Group said she handed one of the boys her phone so he could plug his information into Zelle - but eventually realized he was taking a suspiciously long time to do so

The now-member of the Corcoran Group said she handed one of the boys her phone so he could plug his information into Zelle - but eventually realized he was taking a suspiciously long time to do so

By the time she'd grabbed her phone back and the boys had scurried off, they'd sent themselves $2,000 from her bank account that she may or may not be able to get back

By the time she'd grabbed her phone back and the boys had scurried off, they'd sent themselves $2,000 from her bank account that she may or may not be able to get back

While some on social media mocked Siaca's naivete, her father defended her to the New York Post, saying she had been recovering from a recent wisdom-teeth extraction when she was successfully targeted for the scam.

'They had her on some pretty strong medication and she was sitting there very groggy trying to just take a moment after the surgery and they were watching her,' said David Siaca, 70.

'They gave her some story, they said ‘We need some help’ some charity work, and she was all groggy and just handed her phone over.

'These people I mean they’re like predators,' he added.

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