‘I was in disbelief’: Richmond dance academy loses thousands of dollars through scam

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - In three weeks, the Dynamic Angels from Richmond will be one of 33 teams competing in a national dance competition in Birmingham, Alabama.

Breonda Jones, owner of Dynamic Dance Academy, says the team has been practicing four days a week for the moment they take the floor.

Since March, Jones says the team has been raising thousands of dollars to cover the costs for the competition along with money for their team banquets and outings.

This changed a few days ago when Jones received a call from a phone number associated with her bank.

“The representative told me I had a transaction pending through Zelle against my account for $4,996,” Jones said. “He said I had to Zelle the money to myself.”

Jones followed the instructions and sent the verification code she received on her phone.

“Once I gave him that code, the money disappeared within seconds,” she said.

Jones immediately called her bank, who told her it was a scammer.

“I balled out crying. That’s all I could do was cry because I was in disbelief that nothing triggered to say ‘hey, this may be not right’ or ‘something is going on,’” she said. “Nothing made me think this wasn’t a true representative.”

With three weeks until the competition for the Dynamic Angels, Jones says she’s organizing fundraisers to get this money back.

“We do what we do for the girls. It’s all about the kids. It’s all about seeing that smile on their face,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking to see someone take away.”

Jones also hopes her experience spreads awareness about these types of scams.

“I want to make people aware of what’s going on, make them more cautious when they receive phone calls throughout the daytime, and it’s telling you something about your account,” Jones said. “Hang up and call your bank back.”

Jones also set up a GoFundMe page for their recovery fund.

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