photographers: how scammers are trying to rip you off

photographers: how scammers are trying to rip you off

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 then 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.

You’ll encounter different versions of this, but there are numerous tell-tale signs. These have even cropped up now as scammers texting you! But it follows the same pattern, with the same tell-tale signs that it is a scam.

 

As an example, here is an email by a scammer

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

I am available.  How many hours would you like me to be there?
And which venue are you using?

 

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:85Let 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.

 

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. 

Thanks for getting back with the Total Quote,  Mailing Address: [ address redacted]. Please Neil  I also want you to help me charge another $1,800 for the florist Booked for the Engagement, I’m compensating you with the sum of $250 for the transfer fee and for your efforts.

Please note that I would have given the Florist my credit card for him to deduct the funds but was told that he doesn’t have the facility to charge or debit credit cards, which is why I bring my vote of confidence in you and i wouldn’t want you  to betray my trust. So I want you to  transfer the funds to him ONLY after you have made the charges and the money charged has reflected in your account. Only then can you proceed to make the transfer to the Florist via Western Union Money Transfer.Find below the charges you’ll make on my credit card: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
Kind Regards

 

how these scams work

There it is! They are going to overpay, and you are asked to send the “Florist” that sum of money. That “Florist” is actually the scammer. You would be out of pocket by $1,800 in a week from now when it all plays out. Guaranteed. Any money you pay the “Florist” or whoever, is what you will lose. Any money they pay you, will be paid from a fraudulent credit card, and once the banks catch up, they will remove that money from your account again.

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.

 

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98 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. says

    The scammers are based elsewhere – most likely Nigeria. They just keep moving on to the next victims with new fraudulently acquired credit card numbers.

    The problem in reporting this, is that where I am concerned, there has been no crime committed. I’m not a victim. So if I went to the cops … they’ll just shrug their shoulders.

    And I just do not have the energy to deal with a credit card company’s automated phone system to try and report this. They can deal with it when they realize that that credit card has been compromised.

    • says

      Exactly… and that’s why this stuff continues year after year and is so prevalent. There’s practically no comebacks to the scammers, and the potential payoffs are lucrative enough to make it worth it.

      This is a very old scam though it’s interesting to see it being applied to photographers as a new target demographic. Neil, you’re spot on about learning to look for key signs instead of specific scams: vague emails, deals too good to be true, too eager to initiate a transaction, and ANYTHING that involves your banking details or you paying out money in ANY form. BS “escrow” accounts, overpaying credit cards, checks, customs / transfer “fees”, and so on. Warning bells should be going off right away with any of the above!

  2. Trev says

    Same here Cierra [Australia], I had 2 similar in past 3 months, just wanted to throw money at me without seeing my work nor inquiring about rates first up, just book me.

    The absolutely dead giveaway is *always* going to be the Nigerian scammers methodology wording of “which is why I bring my vote of confidence in you and i wouldn’t want you to betray my trust.” or similar, along with the mention of Western Union.

    Anything with ‘trust/confidence’ and Western Union is 100% guaranteed to be scamming.

  3. says

    I’d like to check email id & ip address to find out where they are sending it from?

    again it is a good idea to add filter IP address on your website to block out any specific country – this will prevent scammers to look up your website & email, however scammers could be anywhere in the world that’s the problems.

  4. says

    The IP address is 209.85.223.196
    This resolves as Mountain View, California.

    Wouldn’t this just be because the culprit is using gmail?
    Or would that be the actual IP address?

  5. Ian says

    Nice example Neil. It’s important that this kind of stuff gets posted. It’s hard to believe that people fall for these scams, but they do – that’s why the scammers keep doing it. This one was a bit more sophisticated than the “Dear Beloved” types, but has a lot of the same hallmarks.

    It’s too bad that you need to have a well developed Spidey sense, but that is the universe we live in.

  6. says

    This scam does get around. I just dealt with a very similar case in my furniture design business. A ‘marketing executive’ from California wanted me to build him a dresser. All was well and good for a couple of emails and then came the scam – would I be willing to take an overpayment so that I can front some money to his ‘shipper.’ Not so much!

    Ah well. Since I’m writing a comment let me say something positive – I’m an avid photographer and I’ve learned a great deal from your blog. I photograph all my furniture and the black foamie thing, among other tricks, has been a great help in making well lit, glare free images. This is one of the best blogs on the web. Thanks!

  7. says

    It’s hard to say from here to be honest because culprit will always look for “Anonymous Proxy” or “computer hijack” in order to use their ip address to show they are from united state, who known if they are actually from different country?

    It’s really good things you post here and helping people to prevent this kind of scam.

  8. Charles says

    I had one who wanted my personal home address to fedex a check to me, they did not even want a studio address but my home address. I told him I do all business thru my PO Box and they can fedex to that for a signature and they said home address only. So I declined the wedding. Hard to tell what they want my home address for.

  9. says

    manvin I wouldn’t block any IP addresses as quite often scammers are using dynamic IP addresses, so you might block potential customers.

  10. stakx says

    Why doesn’t Western Union do something about these scams? (Maybe they are? If so, it doesn’t seem to be very effective at stopping them.) Anytime I see “Western Union” I think scam– this can’t be good for their business…. or maybe it is because they get fees from the scammers?

  11. says

    Seb yes you are right buddy. I’m not blocking any IP addresses however but to analysis IP address to find out which country are they in, only specific users cannot access the website.

    This method seem to work quite well with either dynamic IP or static IP.

  12. says

    stakx The reason why they use WU is very simple – you can’t track your money. Also literally anyone can get your money, they just need some details regarding transaction. Another channel is Money Gram or relationship with some king or queen in Nigeria.

  13. Juraj Dorko says

    I would understand if this was happening in the English-speaking parts of the world only, but it doesn’t! Every now and then I sell some photo gear on a Slovakian website – and these scammers have found me several times! My ad is in Slovak language, everything on the website is in Slovak language – yet they somehow manage to click through several options and find the ads that might be of interest to them. How they do it, I have no idea – do they actually make the effort and have the website translated via Google translate, so that they can navigate through the site? But how did they find the website in the first place? Its name means something like “flee market dot SK”, but not exactly – it’s actually a made-up word, not generally known in Slovak, so how did they find out that this website is where they can find ads, is beyond my understanding.

  14. Trev says

    Currently at the moment, I have a scammer on the line (fishing line that is) and am currently conversing with him.

    Once I am done, and I can detect the full scam, I shall – with Neil’s permission he already has given me – post emails to and from me.

    Hopefully in the next few days.

    So far it ‘appeared’ slightly genuine, but when he gave me the venue name here in Australia, over 2400kms away, and upon ringing to confirm their booking of his “memorable festivities”, they have no bookings on the 2 days he wants me for nor anything under the name given to me.

    coming soon . . . to be continued . . .

    UPDATE: Definitely a scammer, I called the venue again, the receptionist said I was 1 of about a dozen photographers inquiring, and besides that they are already booked for other functions on the days he has supposed to have booked. When queried on that, his “wife forgot, she is busy in Italy buying a wedding outfit and shopping”. :)

  15. says

    I just got a similar email. And it sounded a bit like a scam so i googled it and came upon this article. Thanks for posting it. I really wanted to reply “piss off and get a real job” or something like that. But I didn’t..you never know..if they are crazy and will try to seek me out. Photographers are generally easy to trace.

  16. says

    I got this inquiry this morning. It resembles the scam emails I’ve read here before,
    “Hello
    How are you today,I stumbled on your website via a Google search,Browsed through all your works and fell in love with your level of creativity.I want to book you to shoot at my Engagement party coming up 24th October 2013 here in Australia .Would be so glad if you are available. Also, do you accept payments via credit cards?
    Looking forward to your reply
    Walter Bender”

  17. Paris L. says

    Thanks Neil. Walter Bender just emailed me too and also got my spidey senses going. A quick google led me to your post. Thanks for saving me the time responding to this guy!

  18. pat says

    Do you have any local info on Walter Bender. I need to contact him to review info he gave to my son and need to contact him in person or phone my son is out $3000.00 that he does not have and also lost all access to paypal and has sold Multics items and also lost all that $ he is out of work and has now lost all his $ that has nothing to do with this Walter scam he is 21 and never even. Gave a thought that he would be scammed out of $he does not have.he has loser everything he owns and is now in the need to sell all his camera equipment and is now without evertthing he has ever. Worked for along with his dreams of having a future.

  19. says

    Pat … there is about zero chance you’d ever meet this “Walter Bender”, since the scammers are most likely sitting in a foreign country – probably Nigeria.

  20. says

    Hi Neil! Thanks for sharing! Yesterday I received the email from Walter Bender.
    Here in Brazil. =]

    Em 2013-10-10 08:53, walter bender escreveu:
    Thanks so much for the quick reply i need you to shoot for 4 hours ,and i need all edited copies on USB.

    Engagement Party Venue:

    Plaza Itapema Resort & SPA
    Address: BR-101, Km 144 – Ilhota, Itapema – SC, 88220-000, Brazil

    Start Time:5pm- 9pm

    Number of Guest:85

    Let me know if there would be any travel and accommodation cost, i
    will take care of all additional cost

    Await to get the total quote thank you

  21. says

    From: walter bender [mailto:walterbender13@gmail.com]
    Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 7:53 AM
    To: dan@hhphotographers.com
    Subject: Booking

    Hello
    How are you today,I stumbled on your website via a Google search,Browsed through all your works and fell in love with your level of creativity.I want to book you to shoot at my Engagement party coming up 24th November 2013 here in NY .Would be so glad if you are available. Also, do you accept payments via credit cards?

    Looking forward to your reply

  22. says

    thanks for posting this. i just got the same communication from ” Walter Bender” this week in Jan. 2014. looks like this guy is going to need to change his name up. haha.

  23. Gladys says

    Oyi i just got an email from “Walter Bender” and thought I should google him. My thoughts were right spot on. After I noticed last named spelled Bendor and his email spelled Bender. Thanks

  24. says

    This just happened to me, so it’s still going strong over a year later:

    “Hello, How are you today,I stumbled on your website via a Google search,Browsed through all your works and fell in love with your level of creativity.I want to book you to shoot at my Engagement party coming up 24th November 2014 here in Portland Oregon .Would be so glad if you are available. Also, do you accept payments via credit cards? Looking forward to your reply Lane”

  25. Edeelin says

    This just happened to me today, good thing I saw this blog and realized it was a scam!!!!

    This is how this person contacted me:
    On Jan 26, 2015, at 1:58 PM, lewis jordan wrote:
    Hi, This is Lewis Do you offer Family Reunion Photography and accept credit card? Kindly reply back if you do. Thank you

    On Jan 28, 2015, at 7:33 PM, lewis jordan wrote:
    My family reunion will be taking place at my home in Vallejo on the 20th and 21st of next month 3pm-8pm daily.Expected guest is between 40-50 people. Do you have availability on the dates and be able to take Posed and Candids shots? Let me have the estimate cost and your direct # so i can contact you to better discuss the schedule and arrangement. Thank you

    My reply:
    On Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 10:56 PM,
    Hello Lewis,

    I need your
    1. complete name
    2. address
    3.your cell number
    4. address of your event
    For the 2 days event it’s $1600.

    This is where I got suspicious,
    On Jan 31, 2015, at 8:49 AM, lewis jordan wrote:

    The price is okay with me and i am ready to make full payment of the service now with my credit card so i can be rest assured the date is secured for the event, I need you to render me a favor regarding the event planner that is handling the event for me. The favor is that the event planner is currently not authorized to accept credit card so i want you to help coordinate his fee on my card along with your payment. I will give you my card to charge for your service and the event planner fee (You will charge your fee then charge an additional $1250 for the event planner) As soon as you charge it through and it approves you will forward it to him so everything can be set for the event, Reason i am asking you for the favor is cus i just got out of Intensive care and My Psychiatrist strongly advice me to minimize the stress i go through else i might develop severe weakness and tiredness. I am willing to offer you an extra $50 as tip for your assistance, Bear with me I will be authorizing and responsible for all the charges on my credit card.

    Below is the breakdown of the charges you will be running on my credit card:
    Photo-shoot : $1600
    Event Planner : $1250
    Tip: $50
    CC Charges: 2%

    Kindly get back to me with the grand total you will be running on my credit card along with the details needed to process my card.
    Thank you.

    *I am so thankful I used my common sense! This guy is a scammer!!

  26. says

    I’ve gotten similar inquiries in the past but this time, although I was suspicious from the beginning, the scam was not so obvious. Except for the question about the credit card. Who asks that in their initial inquiry?

    I actually replied to Maxwell Bolt and asked him a couple of questions about his event. When he replied that his reunion was on a Tues and a Wed, that was enough for me to confirm it was a scam.

    More suspicions / confirmations:
    -He contacted me about Reunion photography through my Boudoir photography site.
    -He sent me the exact same email today!

    I did a search today on the ISP (didn’t know before reading it here that I could do that..) and guess where it is??
    Yup – Nigeria!

    I’m including the text from his email here so that others may find it via Google like I did today.
    —-
    First Contact:
    Name: max
    Email: mbolt570@gmail.com
    Phone:
    I’m interested in: Hi, This is Maxwell Do you offer Family Reunion Photography and accept credit card? Kindly reply back if you do. Thank you

    IP: 41.58.124.6
    ——
    Reply to my questions:
    My family reunion will be taking place at my home in Los Angeles on the 25th and 26th of next month. 3pm-8pm daily. Expected guest is around 40-50 guest and i want you to take care of the photography job at my family reunion and i will need portrait work done after the photography..i want my guest photos in a book/album and separate portraits for my family(4 members) … Do you have availability on the dates ?if yes send me a quote for both dates and i can make full payment with my credit card ..Thank you
    ——

    Photographer Beware!

  27. Heidi says

    I just got the same e-mail from Maxwell bolt!! Except for that he claimed his name was Jeremy.
    Here is what he sent me:

    mbolt570@gmail.com
    Feb 22 (3 days ago)

    Hi,
    This is Jeremy, Do you offer Family Reunion Photography and accept credit card? Kindly reply back if you do. Thank you

    Jeremy

    I replied and asked him more details about his event, and here is what he sent me:

    maxwell bolt
    2:48 PM (18 hours ago)

    to me
    Thank you for your timely response My wife came across your timeline on FACEBOOK …My family reunion will be taking place at my home in Mountain View Ca on the 8th and 9th of April. 3pm-8pm daily. Expected guest is around 40-50 guest and i want you to take care of the photography job at my family reunion and i will need portrait work done after the photography
    1) i want my guest photos in a book/album or C D
    2) separate portraits for my family members : (Sabrina,Kathy,Dennis and Joey)
    3) Just walk around and get pictures of the party
    get back to me if you have availability on the above dates and if yes send me a quote for both dates and i can make full payment with my credit card ..Thank you

    Jeremy

    RED FLAGS–the first thing he asked was about accepting credit card, the dates were in the middle of the week (who has a reunion for 5 hrs on wednesday and 5 hrs on Thursday?), and he kept pushing that he would pay in full. Those were enough for me to google him, and I found all your comments!

    PHOTOGRAPHERS, BE CAREFUL!!

  28. Jenna says

    My scam came from a Lewis Jordan. I’m still playing with him making him think I’ll go for it. Same story as above and I am located in So Cal. Hopefully no one falls for this crap!

  29. KE says

    I’m really glad I googled this guy’s email address; I got the same email:

    Name: jeremy
    Email: mbolt570@gmail.com
    Question: Hi,
    This is Jeremy, Do you offer Family Reunion Photography and accept credit card? Kindly reply back if you do. Thank you

    Jeremy

    Time: February 26, 2015 at 3:53 am
    IP Address: 41.138.182.100

    maxwell bolt
    1:42 PM (16 minutes ago)

    to me
    Thank you for your timely response My wife came across your timeline on FACEBOOK …My family reunion will be taking place at my home in Santa Monica on the 8th and 9th of April. 3pm-8pm daily. Expected guest is around 40-50 guest and i want you to take care of the photography job at my family reunion and i will need portrait work done after the photography
    1) i want my guest photos in a book/album or C D
    2) separate portraits for my family members : (Sabrina,Kathy,Dennis and Joey)
    3) Just walk around and get pictures of the party
    get back to me if you have availability on the above dates and if yes send me a quote for both dates and i can make full payment with my credit card ..Thank you

    Jeremy

    • CK says

      Yup, received an emailed from Jeremy, as well, today. Googled before responding and found this post! Thank you!
      ——–
      From: maxwell bolt
      Time: 5:38 AM

      This is Jeremy, Do you offer Family Reunion Photography and accept credit card? Kindly reply back if you do. Thank you
      ——–
      Jeremy

  30. Rachel says

    Ha- just got a very similar email from one Peter Wilson, with a six hour family reunion, plus head shots! In the middle of the week, here in Canada. I had already heard about a similar email in a photog group I’m in on Facebook, plus it just reads like a scam. I still had to play along, to see how well he could answer my questions, and if my quote would scare him or not. We went back and forth briefly. I ended my most recent email with “Also, can you please reassure me that the following link has noting to do with you, as I am an incredibly trusting person, and would really hate for this to be a scam.

    http://neilvn.com/tangents/photographers-how-scammers-rip-you-off-scams-fraud/

    Thank you so much for your inquiry” We shall see if I hear from Pete again.

  31. Morgan says

    Been hit via email and text I’m the last two months. I knew this had to be a scam, just couldn’t figure out how. Good information! Thanks!

  32. says

    I just had a long back and forth via txt with “Abraham Smith.” who was in the hospital for the next few weeks and hard of hearing, thus communicate via SMS. This was for a family reunion in Manhattan at a venue I couldn’t find listed anywhere, for a 6 hour period on a Thursday afternoon. a month hence. My spidey sense tingled when he asked about taking a credit card in the first message. From there on, for about an hour, we went back and forth. When he asked for my direct number, which he’d been txt-ing for an hour, and I accidentally called him Peter Wilson, (which he didn’t correct) I finally just said I just realized I can’t do this job, how did you get my number? Who referred me to you? (I don’t promote that kind of photography anyway…and a quick review of my website would reveal this.)

    GREAT info throughout this thread.

    Thanks, Steve

  33. chantel says

    I got this from a Leland Whitehurst.

    Hello my name is Leland. I will like to know your availability day in March, 2015 just for 6 hours service, also i will need portrait work done after the photography work is done after the event. I will like you to get back to me with your availability day in March, its a family reunion party. And also do you accept credit card payment?

    Regards,
    Leland.

    I also got another one a few days later from a Janice Adara. Thanks for this post, it saved me a lot of time and money!

  34. says

    That phrase – “I will like to” – immediately indicates that it is a scam. A 100% certainty.

    We might just be in trouble one day if these scammers get their grammar together.

  35. klynn says

    There is a Tim Webber out there too!

    “Hello my name is Tim Webber. I will like to know your availability day in April, 2015 just for 4 hours service, also i will need portrait work done after the photography work is done after the event. I will like you to get back to me with your availability day in April, its a family reunion party. And also do you accept credit card payment?

    Regards,
    Tim.”

    I replied (knowing it was a scam obviously) to let him know I do not do events or parties :P

  36. Elizabeth says

    Hi, This is David Brandon Do you offer Family Reunion Photography and accept credit card? Kindly reply back if you do.

    Thank you

    Making the rounds in Chicago for Family Reunions.

    Hi David,

    Yes, I can offer family reunion photography packages and I do accept credit cards. Many of my weekends are booked for the summer. When and where is your reunion and what would you like included – how many hours, how many people, candid/posed, prints, albums? I can then get a better idea of what you’re looking for and provide you with several package options and pricing.

    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth

    My family reunion will be taking place at my home in Palatine on the 27th and 28th of next month 3pm-8pm daily.Expected guest is between 40-50 people. Do you have availability on the dates and be able to take Posed and Candids shots? Let me have the estimate cost and your direct # so i can contact you to better discuss the schedule and arrangement.

    Thank you

    Hi David,

    Sorry for the delay, I was running out the door this morning when I got your second email. Unfortunately, I am beginning a new full-time job on 4/6 and could only commit to time after work as that’s a Monday and Tuesday. That said, you really will get the best natural light around sunset. Perhaps two hours of outdoor photography (6-8pm)? That should give me enough time to get through posed photos of the various parts of the family, the whole family together, and a number of candids. The cost would be $875 – that includes an online password-protected gallery with digital downloads of all fully-edited images with a print/post release or the option to buy professional prints, as well. I’d recommend scheduling for 4/27 and then if we have rain, we could try for the 48th as a back-up. Feel free to call any time for more information.

    Elizabeth

    The price is okay with me and i am ready to make full payment of the service now with my credit card so i can be rest assured the date is secured for the event, I need you to render me a favor regarding the event planner that is handling the event for me. The favor is that the event planner is currently not authorized to accept credit card so i want you to help coordinate his fee on my card along with your payment. I will give you my card to charge for your service and the event planner fee (You will charge your fee then charge an additional $2000 for the event planner) As soon as you charge it through and it approves you will forward it to him so everything can be set for the event, Reason i am asking you for the favor is cus i just got out of Intensive care and My Psychiatrist strongly advice me to minimize the stress i go through else i might develop severe weakness and tiredness. I am willing to offer you an extra $50 as tip for your assistance, Bear with me I will be authorizing and responsible for all the charges on my credit card.

    Below is the breakdown of the charges you will be running on my credit card:
    Photo-shoot : $875
    Event Planner : $2000
    Tip: $50
    CC Charges: 2%

    Kindly get back to me with the grand total you will be running on my credit card along with the details needed to process my card.

    Thank you.

    ***And that’s when I forwarded the email chain to the local police, not that they can do anything, but they do send out alerts to our community when scams like this are going around.***

    • Markw says

      Thanks for the info. I got one and just replied back with this :D :D :D

      Hi Susan,
      Yes, that works great. Lets go ahead and book it!

      One small issue. I will need to get a new lens for this event to make sure you have the best photos possible. My credit card was stolen so I can’t use it right now. So I need you to purchase the lens and ship it to me. it will be around $2,000. I will subtract my fee from the $2,000 (or however much the lens costs after taxes and shipping) and I will pay you whatever else is left over at the event.

      Thanks so much!

      • Adriana says

        Ha! I’m playing with “Lewis Jordan” right now. I love your reply. Might have to borrow it. : )

    • says

      So happy I saw this post. Here is my convo with David Brandon:

      Hi, This is David Brandon Do you offer Family Reunion Photography and accept credit card? Kindly reply back if you do.

      Thank you

      Hi David,

      I would love to take photos for you. I do accept credit. Were you referred by someone? When is the event?

      Best,
      Hannah

      David Brandon
      8:23 AM (8 hours ago)

      My family reunion will be taking place at my home in Muskego on the 15th and 16th of next month 3pm-8pm daily.
      Expected guest is between 40-50 people. Do you have availability on the dates and be able to take Posed and Candids shots?
      Let me have the estimate cost and your direct # so i can contact you to better discuss the schedule and arrangement.

      Thank you

      to David
      David,

      Great news! I am available on both of those dates. I can take candid shots and do posed group shots as well. Here is a breakdown of the cost, but please feel free to contact me by calling ******** for more details.
      For your family reunion, it would be billed as Event/Party Photography. My rates allow you customize your photography coverage in two steps to work best with your budget *******

      I hope this helps!

      Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you!


      We then started texting. I wanted to call him, but he said he was hearing impaired. I was falling for it for a while, even though I still wasn’t feeling 100% on it. Eventually he agreed on a price and then asked me to do him a “Favor” That’s when I knew something was up and I found this post! He gave me the same event planner story and I just said that I cannot accept payment on the behalf of another business. Silence.

      I will be reporting him. His phone number he was texting from is 601-274-3456.

  37. Miriam says

    Klynn,

    I just had the Tim Webber contact me from my web page this weekend. It seemed like a normal quote until he asked me to pay for the venue and him pay me back with an extra $200 for me because they “didn’t take credit cards”. I happen to know that venue does take credit cards and knew right then it was a scam. Don’t fall into this guys trap!
    He wrote me from webber.hillsborough@gmail.com

    Thanks for posting about this!

  38. Andrew says

    Hello, I’m Susan Hays. How are you ? I’ll like to know your free available date in May for my family reunion (5 hours photo coverage). Also i want family portraits done for the all the families coming together for the reunion. Do you accept credit card payment ?

    Same thing. Thanks for your post.

    • Markw says

      I just got this exact same thing

      Hello, I’m Susan Hays. How are you ? I’ll like to know your free available date in May for my family reunion (5 hours photo coverage). Also i want family portraits done for the all the families coming together for the reunion. Do you accept credit card payment ?

      Here was “her” reply

      Hi Mark,

      I want you to check if you have available weekends between June 20th-28th. If you have a date open i want you to work on the estimate cost for the 5 hours photo coverage from 11am-4pm, and 6-16×20 prints family photo portraits because we have 6 families coming together for the reunion event. The event will be held locally here in the state about an hour or two drive from your location, i will cover the travel expenses. I got your information on the internet and i hope you can handle this event. I’ll be making 60% down payment in advance with my credit card to book the date also i will forward you the event venue once the event planner book the hall.

      Thanks,
      Susan

  39. Andrew says

    Hello Andrew,

    Thank you for the estimate. I want you to know that i am in the ICU just recuperating from an ear surgery i undergo. The event planner handling the event does not have the facility to receives credit card payment, i want you to do me a little favor. I want you to add their charges to yours so you can have everything run on my credit card. The favor is that after you ran everything on my credit card and the total amount has cleared to your account, you will send their fees to them. Here is the final breakdown below :

    Your service: $X,XXX
    Event planner: $1,500
    Tips & Gratuity : $100
    3% CC Surcharge: $$$

    In view of this i want you to get back to me with the grand total and i will provide you with my credit card details to run through ASAP.

    Thanks,

    Susan.

  40. says

    Yup, there it is – the pattern.

    It’s amusing how they have moved the bad grammar of “I will like to”, up towards ” I’ll like to”.

  41. Laura says

    Ohhhhh, I got the hearing impaired Tim Webber and another dude TODAY – Larry Stevens.

    I didn’t feel good from the first Tim Webber interaction, but when Larry Stevens made the same inquiry email – report phishing and report spam and create filter for emails like this and ThankYouVeryMuchGmailforBusiness.

    As we say it down here on the Gulf Coast (me being European and all…) – “them f***ers need a slap in the face… with a brick!”

    On a brighter note, hey, I found your blog :))))

    And it’s five o’clock somewhere… Cheers!!!

  42. Sifu Al Zepeda says

    As an owner/head instructor of a martial arts school, we get the same scams. Over the past 10 years, I have had so many scam attemps just like this (received one today by the name Janice Adara), where the wording is almost identical. Just put martial arts and full body exercise as the topic. And there have been some pretty elaborate scam stories too. I go to Google and do a search on the name used, and most of the time, it shows up as a fake name. Scamming this way is in just about every type of service oriented business. If it sound a bit fishy or too good to be true, it’s most likely a scam. Be on your toes and don’t be fooled.

    • Joseph Pecore says

      This is the email he sent,

      Hello my name is Tim Webber. I will like to know your availability day in June, 2015 just for 4 hours service, also i will need portrait work done after the photography work is done after the event. I will like you to get back to me with your availability day in June, its a family reunion party. And also do you accept credit card payment?

      Regards,
      Tim.

      Answering his question about credit cards, I did accept them, but no longer.
      He’s a scammer for sure .And I do believe him to be sending his emails from somewhere in California – the email headers show (PDT) pacific daylight time.

  43. says

    Thank you for writing this article! I too received the email from Tim Webber. I knew something didn’t feel right when I checked with the venue and they were already booked and they DO accept ALL credit cards. I can’t believe people would do this shit… don’t they know this is how we (photog.) pay our bills. It aint a hobby to us! GRRRR

  44. says

    Another text scammer trying his luck,
    from phone number: (914) 461-8840

    Hello This is James walker,i will like to know your availability day in june,2015 just 4 hours service,also i will need portrait work done after the photography work is done after the event and do you accept credit card ?let me know your availability day in june,2015..you can email me

    jameswalker1949@outlook.com

  45. says

    Aaaw, this is adorable. A scammer with a budget.

    From phone number: (407) 655-4696

    Here is a series of texts, with her replies to me, as I play along:

    Hello, I’m Tammy Dickson, I’ll like to know if you do Photography, if you accept credit card as a form of payment and if you are the owner or manager?

    I’m looking towards May 28th for a family reunion dinner party and it starts by 4 pm. I wouldn’t know if the date is open.

    What is your accurate cost for 5 hours service. It would be held here locally and the location is about 30 to 45 minutes drive away from you

    The Photo size I want, get back to me with the accurate cost 16 x 20 and 5 portraits. We have 5 families so you will make 5 portraits for the families. Metallic prints.

    Kindly figure an estimate so we can have a date booked according to your availability and I will make the full payment upfront with my credit card

    I played along for a while, returning her texts. My initial quote was for $950 and then I just ramped it up to $2495 so that we could finish this dilly-dallying.

  46. Holly says

    I just got the same text from “James Walker” from 914-461-8840. I had a funny feeling about it as soon as I received it, but wasn’t quite sure. Very glad I googled the number. Thanks!

  47. Jennifer says

    I just got this scam today. I thought something seemed odd. Email is from Lewis. Wanted to tip me an extra $50 to render him a favor and he wanted to know what credit card company I use to process transactions. He’s using spicyleenda901@gmail. Also, he could only text and not talk because of a bad tooth

  48. says

    Tammy certainly is busy! She sent me the same text as above on May 16!! I knew something was up because the English was screwed up! Thank so much for sharing this info.. I found it just by googling the phone number. What can we do, if anything, about this?

  49. says

    Nothing much you can do because most likely they aren’t in the USA.
    And if they are – they haven’t committed that crime yet, and it would be difficult to legally prove their intent.

  50. Karla McKinney says

    I am SO thankful you posted about scammers because I had a request from a certain Tim Webber. Not knowing who he might be and feeling very uncomfortable about his request, I plugged in his name and email and found him on your site!
    I am not a photographer, but a The Pampered Chef independent consultant and this is what the scammer sent to me:

    TIm webber
    6:18 PM (1 hour ago)

    Hello, My name is Tim, I would like to know if you are available for Cooking Lessons, and what are the requirements? Please get back to me ASAP.Also do you accept credit cards as a mode of payment?

    Regards,
    Tim.”

    Thank you again to everyone who posted different names and such. I have been hit with the emotional tugs, the wanting to over pay and refund the difference and such too. Pisses me off. But I digress! Thank you again!

  51. says

    Just had a long chat with “Tammy Dickson”. I was actually excited to book a family reunion, as I love capturing families together with those sentimental moments. They insisted on paying. I’ve never had a client try to pay so fast before meeting or talking on the phone AT LEAST. I just wish they would get an actual job and stop trying to scam us, the one’s that are actually working our a** off for a living.

  52. says

    Next up:

    Rebecca Collins (rebeccacollins5@outlook.com):

    My name is Rebecca Am An Hearing Impaired Patient Do you offer Family Reunion Photography and Marriage ,so do you accept credit card? Kindly reply back if you do.

    I’m tempted to reply that I can’t offer marriage since polygamy is illegal in this country.

  53. Chris says

    You can do nothing against this guys, because in africa they earn a lot of money with scamming people so they can corrupt policemen in their country. In my country (France) you have to be carefull to with call phone, someone call you and tell you earn something but you have to call a number, this number is surtaxed and you will loss rapidely huge amount of money !!! (sorry for my bad english)
    Love the site, love Neil work !

  54. David Ashford says

    These are sooo easy to spot. Anything involving outbound Western Union payments is a huge red flag. Pointless trying to check locations with IP addresses. They will be using a VPN service so the IP address can appear to come from anywhere they like

  55. says

    Thank you EVERYONE for all the info you have posted.
    June 4th, 2015 received a text from (702) 536-4859 from Mrs. Norman, a “hearing Imparied Deaf Woman” who wanted portrait work done and what cards I accepted. I found the number online for scams and responded with “Thank you for reaching SNAPS. You have successfully subscribed to our daily fun facts about photography! If you have questions regarding service please email us at snapsbyrebecc@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to help you there.” I spelled the email incorrectly on purpose. Then I followed with “Here is your daily fun fact. The Eastman Kodak company was founded in 1888 by George Eastman.” Then I closed with “To unsubscribe from daily fun facts about photography please send UNSUBSCRIBE DFFAP”.
    June 10th, 2015 again from the same number Mrs. Kate needed a photographer for an event in June 2015 and if I accepted credit card payments. I just copied and pasted the “automated” responses again.
    June 11th, 2015, jameswalker1949@outlook.com writes “Hello, I’m James walker . How are you ? I’ll like to know your free available date in August for my family reunion (5 hours photo coverage). Also i want family portraits done for all the families coming together for the reunion. Do you accept credit card payment ? I got you contact information from the internet.
    Thanks
    James”
    And thanks James “I got you” too.

  56. says

    I got one from Tim Weber today in Clinton, Iowa. Glad I found your information on the scam!
    My reply were two simple words, that I will not post.

    Hello my name is Tim, I would like to know your availability day in July, 2015 just for 4 hours of service, also i’ll need portrait work done after the photography work immediately after the event. I would like you to get back to me with your availability day in July, its a family reunion party. And also do you accept credit card as a mode of payment?

    Regards,

    Tim.

  57. says

    I received one as well. It came in via text message fro (914)627-5252

    Hello good day? my name is william,I am hearing impaired,i want to know if you do photo or video coverage? And can speak with owner or manager and also what types credit card do you accept for payment?

  58. says

    I work on the IT industry while I’m a part time photographer and would like to add something the post missed and I did not see in the comments either. Make sure you DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINK they send you. This scam has many variations. If you need to log in to your PayPal account or bank account open a new tab and log into your bank the same way you always do.

    I read this post no more than 2 days ago, and this morning I got an email from a scammer: mike.haenel@dtz.com “How are you doing today.I will like to know if you offer photography service and do you accept credit card?.

    Thanks You”

    My reply was: “Hi Mike,

    Yes we do offer photography services here at Alanis Photography and we do accept all major credit cards.
    What event do you have, when, on what venue, and for how many hours do you need our services?”

    I will play along as much as I can and provide an update if I see any variation of the scam different from what Neil described above.

  59. Alli270 says

    Same thing happened to me just last night.
    James Walker texted me and mentioned wanting me to shoot his family reunion and do a bunch of family portraits two hours away from where I am located. He said he would pay the travel expenses. I gave him a quote and then he mentioned his event planner and how they apparently only take cash and he wants to pay credit. What Event Planner only takes cash :P
    He was VERY vague and apparently had ear surgery and was recovering currently.
    Sorry James, not fooling us :P

  60. says

    I seem to be a magnet for these scams. Had at least 5 of these. Here’s the latest:

    >>> Initial email:
    Ellison Wallace Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 5:15 AM
    Reply­To: gillw004@gmail.com
    Bcc: contact@ofmemories.com
    Looking for a Videographer/Photographer that is under $1,500 or lesser per ceremony. All of the ones I have
    been looking into have been $3,500+. Date: July 2015 family reunion & wedding Location for both ceremony:
    Kindly get back to when you got chance­ Stay blessed..!!! Kevlar Wallace
    ofMemories Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 6:41 AM

    >>> My Reply:
    To: gillw004@gmail.com
    Kevlar,
    Thanks for reaching out to ofMemories.
    Unfortunately I do not offer videography services at this time. If you are in need of photography services, I may
    have availability in July ­ at very reasonable prices.
    Where is your event located, and which day in July?
    Also, can you share with me how/where you heard about ofMemories?
    Thanks.
    Sherwin
    ofMemories ­ Photography for your life.
    contact@ofmemories.com | http://www.ofmemories.com

    >>> His reply:
    Ellison Wallace Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 7:09 AM
    Reply­To: gillw004@gmail.com
    To: ofMemories
    Good to hear from you. I am looking for 14th reunion and 26th wedding July 2015. spend a lot but want the
    important stuff captured on Master DVD with Print Photo size i want, 4×6/5×7/8×10/11×14 and 7 portrait of my
    family full edited color corrected, a bit before the ceremony, the ceremony, first dance and more. 6hours required
    (2pm­8pm) for both ceremony. Here is the venue 399 Monmouth St
    East Windsor, NJ Get back to me with the total estimate including tax fee. plus do you accept credit card
    payment?. Hope to hear from you ASAP thanks. Stay Bless

    >>> My reply:
    ofMemories Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 7:32 AM
    To: gillw004@gmail.com
    Kevlar,
    Can you provide a phone number where I can reach you to discuss some more details?
    Thanks.

    >>> His reply:
    Ellison Wallace Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 7:50 AM
    Reply­To: gillw004@gmail.com
    To: ofMemories
    Good i will like like to talk you the phone as well.. But i don’t know if my assent not gonna bother you. I’m Italian
    man i work at FedEx as delivery truck driver and do get back to me with the quote

    >>> My first clue this was a scam was the BCC to my email address. I think I’ll end it there.

  61. says

    Scammer rolling in via text message from: (207) 200-3145

    : I’m Morgan Tim. How are you ? I’ll like to know your free available on the 26th to 28th of June for my family reunion (5 hours coverage). Also i want the family portraits done for the all the families coming together for the reunion. I want you to get back to me with your availability dates and do you accept credit card payment? I’ll be looking forward to read from you ASAP.

  62. says

    On Jun 19, 2015, at 11:16 AM, mike cowley (mkcowl8@gmail.com) wrote:

    Hello,

    I’m mike cowley. How are you ? I’ll like to know your free available date in August for my family reunion (5 hours photo coverage). Also i want family portraits done for all the families coming together for the reunion. Do you accept credit card payment ? I got you contact information from the internet.

    Thanks
    mike

  63. says

    Just got the same exact email!

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: “Ellison Wallace”
    Date: Jun 17, 2015 5:15 AM
    Subject: Videographer/Photographer in need
    To:
    Cc:

    Looking for a Videographer/Photographer that is under $1,500 or lesser per ceremony. All of the ones I have been looking into have been $3,500+. Date: July 2015 family reunion & wedding Location for both ceremony: Kindly get back to when you got chance- Stay blessed..!!! Kevlar Wallace

  64. says

    Just got another one via email this time.

    “Hi.. how are you doing today my name is James..do you offer photography service also do you accept credit cards?”

    From James Floyd

  65. says

    First thing mentioned is that he is hard of hearing. Then the vague photography job. No date. No location … but do you take credit card?

    Abel Turner (godblessturner@gmail.com) wrote:

    Hi My name’s Abel,I am hearing impaired. I will like to hire you for a photography job. I have an event at hand, please get back to me if you are available. Also let me know if credit card is acceptable.

    Thank You
    Abel Turner
    Cell (508) 623-8415 ( Text Pls)

  66. says

    These scammers tried it with me twice. I just love to play around with them and waste their time. I know they’re scammers! :D I play along with them for a looooong time lol

  67. Rebecca says

    Yep! I got one too!

    Hello this is James, how are you doing ?I want you to check if you have available weekends between August 1st-30th. If you have a date open i want you to work on the estimate cost for the 5 hours photo coverage from 11am-4pm, and 6-16×20 prints family photo portraits because we have 6 families coming together for the reunion event. The event will be held locally here in the state about an hour or two drive from your location, i will cover the travel expenses. I got your information on the internet and i hope you can handle this event. I’ll be making 60% down payment in advance with my credit card to book the date also i will forward you the event venue once the event planner book the hall. I will be looking forward to read from you with the estimate ASAP.

    Regards,
    James.

  68. says

    Text message from: (682) 231-6191

    Good Day, This is carolina brown how are you doing, i have a family reunion party and i will like to know if you can available for photos taking there and do you accept credit card for payment and let me know your availability date july 2015

  69. says

    Tim Webber is a busy guy. Just received the following email and there were so many red flags that I just had to look him up. Who orders all 660 shirts in size XL? Asks if we take credit cards before getting the price? What city is the even in, we are in a small town? And a professional wouldn’t blurt everything out in one giant paragraph…hmmm

    Here’s the email, scams for all businesses. Lol

    Hello, my name is Tim, I would like to know if you do Screen printing on T-Shirts? and do you accept major types of credit cards? I have a seminar coming up in the city here on the 8th of August by 1pm. I have some T-shirt I need you to do Screen printing on all together are 55 dozen of T-shirts white in color and I’ll like to put at the front of the T-shirts(GLORY OF GOD) you move down lower and put (GENESIS 13:1-6) in black color and the shirt are white color. I need a perfect job on the T-shirts the total of the T-shirts are 660Pcs, Sizes are XL=78cm. I’ve made arrangement with a private carrier that will be having the T-shirts deliver to your shop so you can work on them. So kindly get back to me with the request information below. And also check the attachment you will see the artwork and I want it to be a bold letter in any height or width but make the GLORY OF GOD bold letter and make the GENESIS 13:1-6 small under it as in the artwork. Check the attachment for artwork.

    Full Name:
    Shop Address:
    Cell phone number:
    Total cost of your service:

  70. Grace says

    I just recieved a scam email from the Tim Webber character asking me to make 660 screen printed T’s for him. Same email as the girl above. Somehow I knew it was a scam right off the bat.

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