the way scammers are targeting photographers
In a previous article on how e-mail scammers are targeting photographers, the question came up exactly how the photographer is going to lose money. What exactly is the system in place where the photographer is going to be out of pocket?
In short – the scammer books you, but overpays, and asks you to pay the difference to another vendor. So you send money to the “other vendor” (who is actually the scammer). The transaction where you got paid the money turns out to be fraudulent, and the bank removes that money from your bank account … but the money that you paid to the “other vendor” (ie, the scammer) is a real transaction and you lose that money.
As an example, here is an email that is going around. You’ll encounter different versions of this, but there are numerous tell-tale signs …
1. The initial email.
Note how the wording is vague, and the grammar is nearly always awkward. I am actually surprised they got the ‘new Jersey’ part right. Usually it is a very generic ‘your city’.
My name is Walter Bender i will like to book you for my Engagement Party Dated 30th July 2013 here New jersey. Get back to me if you are available and if you accept credit card payment
My Spidey senses are already tingling at this. This person is just too eager to throw money in my direction, without asking about costs and other details.
2. My reply, trying to elicit more detail.
3. The scammer’s reply
Thanks a lot Neil for the quick reply,Happy 4th. i need you to shoot for 3 hours ,and i need all edited copies on CD.
Engagement Venue: [ name and address of the venue redacted ]
Start Time:6pm- 9pm
Number of Guest:85
Let me know your Quote Okay,i want to have the date book right away,i will forward you my credit card details to confirm Booking
So far … not too bad. Still just a suspicion that this isn’t a real enquiry. My Spidey senses are tingling!
4. My reply, with a dollar amount just thrown in there.
I thought I might push this a little bit and ask for an address to mail the disc to.
Hi there Walter
For 3 hours, and the disc of images, my fee is $1,500 + 7% NJ sales tax.
The total fee would be $1605.00
And I would need your address so I can mail you the disc afterwards.
5. His reply … and tadaaaaa!! There it is. It’s a scam.
You Charge fee ………( $1605.00)
Florist Fee ……($1,800)
Your Commission…….($250 )
Note that my credit card will be charged for the amounts above. Please do get back to me if you are in the office right now so that I can forward my credit card details to you,i would like you to help me process the Charges through the link at your end, I can then send you the information by which to transfer the money to the Florist by Western Union Money transfer .
Anticipating your Favorable reply
There it is! They are going to overpay, and you are asked to send the “Florist” that sum of money. You would be out of pocket by $1,800 in a week from now when it all plays out. Guaranteed.
I removed the mailing address since it is a useless address. It’s in the middle of a NJ State Park. Yup, another clue. Because, really, they don’t want the disc. They want your $1,800 …. because this is a scam.
Another clue is that you have to pay the scammer / “florist” via Western Union Money Transfer. That’s generally one consistent part to this type of scam.
This is how these scams work. You’ll encounter variations of this, but there are always specific patterns to it that will reveal you’re dealing with a con artist / criminal / scammer.