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There is a scam being run on wedding photographers that is really effective so read and watch out-
I received the following email last week. Other than some punctuation and word choice errors, it looked no different than the many daily emails I receive from perspective clients.
My name is Kathleen Morris, I live in Kirkwood, MO. I am presently
in London(UK)but probably will be moving back home soon and i’ll be
getting married shortly after my arrival in the states to my fiance
Dave Richard .We will need a wedding/party Photographer to help us in
making up our ceremony from the church to the hotel reception.We will
like to find out what your plans are for Thursday, April 24th,2014.
This is the date of our wedding so kindly let us know your
availability for this day.We’ll take responsibility for your expenses
regarding our plans.we might not be able to meet you soon as
planned,due to our unavailability in the states but,we are willing to
retain the date, that’s to make deposit for booking prior we to our
arrival to be sure we are interested in your service,if we really
are.Waiting to get your response.
Kathleen and Dave
I replied and received the following email a few hours after my reply.
Hello Once Again Reza,
Thanks for keeping in touch with us. Here is the services we will
like you to render to us,we will want you to send us your price for
just four hours with high quality images on 1DVD, we have decided to
deal and pay for parents albums immediately after our wedding,we will
be able to select the size and style of albums we want in that way. We
will also need high quality pictures for future references and i’m
sure we could browse through your website for more prints in future after the
wedding event.We are expecting to see up to 20-25 guests on
that day(family members included)
Also,we want you to know that we are having two locations for the
wedding in the same area, that is from the church to the reception,as
soon as we have the wedding locations we will have the full
information sent to you for future reference.Get back to us here
with the price for your service(four hours) so that we can have
further discussions in calculation.The city where the
wedding ceremony/reception is taking place is Kirkwood, MO and the ceremony
starts by 12pm. Best Regards
Kathleen and Dave
3 warning signs raised the red flag in my head- 1) fast reply, 2) the errors in word choice and punctuation, 3) they have a time but no wedding location. They are getting married at peak season and they still don’t have a location!
I Goggled their email and BAM- that email comes up as a classic scam originating out of Nigeria. Just Google the email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is how this simple scam works.
A) after some back and forth emails where Kathleen and Dave agree on a high price for their wedding with you (the photographer), they tell you their grandfather will send the 25% deposit in the form of an international check. Say the deposit is for $2000.
B) a fake but very legit check arrives made out to you for the sum of $4500. Because you are trusting you tell your clients that sweet Grandpa paid too much. You are happy to put the balance towards the rest of their bill.
C) They tell you that is not possible because their dear old grandpa is on a fixed income, he had a stroke, he has vet bills for his sole companion dog etc… Add any number of heart stirring reasons.
D) They ask/ plead/beg you to please send a check to their grandpa for the amount over- $2500. Because you are a decent person you agree. If you don’t they threaten to tear up the contract which is a huge sum. So, under pressure,you deposit their fake check and send/wire Grandpa your money overseas.
E) 4 weeks later your bank informs you the check you tried to deposit is a fake. And you notice that your check/wire transfer has been cashed. You just got scammed out of $2500. And there is no way to get it back.
This simple scam works because most wedding photographers are desperate to book weddings. They are in a very competitive field so when they get a big spending client who is willing to sign a contract they fall over themselves in shock and happily agree to anything their “client” wants.
Be aware and remember- if it’s too good to be true then…