Over-payment scam / Family reunion scam
“Son of a Bitch.”
Scammers are so touchy. Geeze. I am trying to do him a favor, and then he curses me out.
Now, if you are unsure what just happened in that conversation, hang in there …
How the over-payment scam works
This is a well known scam called the over-payment scam. It comes in many forms, and isn’t limited to just the “family reunion”. It can be a wedding or any other event. Also, this isn’t limited to the photography world.
The scammer will ask you your fees, and then tell you a story that the florist or planner (or whoever) can’t take credit card payment. The scammer will then ask if he can pay you extra, so that you can forward the excess amount to the florist / planner (who is actually the scammer).
Well, the money the scammer is paying YOU will be from a fraudulent card or some fraudulent way. Keep in mind the money is not real. However, the money that you pay to the florist / planner (who is actually the scammer), is real money.
By the time the money you collected are pulled from your bank account (because it is a fraudulent transaction after all), your very real payment to the scammer has gone through. You have no money that went into your account, but the money you paid out is very real. And you just lost it. Thus you are out of pocket by $800 or $1200 or $1500.
This scam relies 100% on them over-paying you. The scammer will even offer to pay you extra in addition to your usual fee, to entice you.
How we know this is a scam
You may well wonder how we immediately know this is a scam. There is a certain pattern to the phrasing, but especially because they are very eager to throw money at you, and immediately ask whether you take credit card. They don’t even ask if you are available, or ask to see a portfolio. None of the usual ways a potential client would connect with you first.
The phrase “family reunion” already set my warning signals off.
It’s just one of those standard things that scammers default to. Also the request for 16×20 prints. After a while you can recognize a scam just by the phrasing. Another dead giveaway would be the phrase: “I will like to…”
Why I offered to photograph the event for free
By saying I want to photograph this for free, it doesn’t give him a hook to scam me. The scam works by luring people into accepting the OVER-payment. But by insisting on doing this for free, I am subverting the scam.
This is the only way to respond to them, imho. I can easily waste their time forever with this, without getting upset. And I can effortlessly maintain any conversation with them like this. I just have to keep on insisting photographing the event for free.
He never replied further to my text messages. No more fun to be had. He realized all too quickly that he was busted.
Just know there is no client here. It’s just you and the scammer. No potential work. No opportunity. And most definitely no money to be made.
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