Posted on: November 27, 2020, 08:43h.
Last updated on: November 27, 2020, 09:45h.
It seems cyberfraudsters are targeting Venmo accounts belonging to famous professional poker players. Both Daniel Negreanu and Erik Seidel turned to Twitter this week to report they had been the victims of hackers who had stolen thousands of dollars from their accounts on the PayPal-owned payments platform.
Negreanu was particularly aggrieved that whoever had emptied his account for $15k later had the gall to try to use it to pay for a $43 cab ride.
The dude who robbed my @venmo @VenmoSupport account has some balls. Cleaned it out and then still tried to pay for a $43 Uber ride on my dime.
You just stole $15k dude, and you still need to get me for $43 more? Ain’t you a piece of work.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 25, 2020
Seidel declined to mention how much he had lost. But he revealed that hackers had somehow changed the email address connected to his account. At the time of his tweet, he was having trouble reaching Venmo customer support.
“The security of customer account information is always a top priority for Venmo and PayPal, and we take all the necessary steps to protect our customers,” a PayPal spokesman told a concerned Bloomberg, which inquired on behalf of the players. “We take these situations very seriously and work quickly and diligently to support customers, mitigate any impact, and resolve the situation if issues arise.”
All-Time Biggest Earners
It’s no coincidence that Negreanu and Seidel were targeted. The two high-profile figures are among the highest-earning poker players of all-time, at number three and four, respectively, in the all-time money list. Negreanu’s gross live tournament earnings exceed $40 million, according to the Hendon Mob database, while Seidel’s are just below that.
Poker players have often been prey to cybercriminals because of highly publicized tournament wins and the perception they are cash rich.
Pros including Kevin McPhee, Dan Smith, and the biggest female money winner, Vanessa Selbst, have all recently reported being hit by cybertheft.
Last year, Danish player Peter Jepsen, a former European Poker Tour winner, was sentenced to four years in prison and fined €3.5 million ($4.2 million USD) for fraud. He was found to have installed software on the laptops of fellow pro players that enabled him to see their hole cards.
Negreanu-Polk Grudge Match
Negreanu’s brush with a scammer caps off a challenging week for the Canadian-born player. He is currently engaged in an online heads-up grudge match with fellow outspoken social media influencer Doug Polk.
The two have bickered publicly online for years, ever since Negreanu, a PokerStars ambassador, defended his employee’s decision to increase the rake structure on its games.
Polk is an online heads-up cash specialist and therefore was the favorite going into the much-publicized match against Negreanu, whose forte is live tournaments. Negreanu initially held his own — until this week, when Polk started to pull into the lead.
As of Thursday, Polk was leading by almost a quarter of a million dollars — which is why that $43 cab ride probably felt like the last straw for Negreanu.