Email Scam - Birthday Gig in the U.S.

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by lindsay_docherty, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. I received two emails last week that were very similar requesting my services to
    shoot a birthday party. One is supposedly in Chicago and another somewhere in
    Ohio. I knew it was a scam but couldn't figure out how it worked, especially
    since they claimed to be from the United States. The Uganda and Nigeria scams
    are old and obvious but there's more work required for these.

    Here are the emails...



    I am Benjamen kings and i have a birthday party for my Son next month 24th of
    March kindly get back to me if can get a change as my friend recomend you for me
    as professional photogragher and i want you to be there on this date. kindly
    qoute me your price. As for the birtday people coming around 20-40poeple and
    party start 12noon and end 7pm.

    kindly get back to me as soon as possible.




    I am Daven. I decided to email you bcos i will like to book you as the
    Photographer for the birthday ceremony of my kid which is coming up on 10th of
    April 2007 and i will be inviting some guests. So i want you to get back to me
    with your charges for the 6hrs.
    Hope to hear from you as soon as possible.

    My Regards,

    I played along letting them know how much it would cost, etc.

    To Chicago, I would need $1400+ up front which Kings said wasn't a problem and
    asked for my name, address, and phone number.

    At this point I couldn't really stall much more so I looked more fully into what
    this scam might be. Through and a few others, i found that the scam
    is this:

    You quote them anything and they agree to it. They ask for all your info and
    then send you a check - even a certified check. The check is for more than what
    you quoted them and they request that the extra be sent back to them or off to
    another entertainer for the party. You send off a check for the difference. A
    few days later their check bounces but yours goes through. then you're screwed.

    i don't know what kind of check they use that makes it initially clear but
    bounce later, but these are the reports.

    or worse, you show up and you're kidnapped/robbed/held as a hostage/etc.

    be aware and forward this along to other groups that might need it.

  2. I've had similar e-mails for wedding photography. They said they would be coming to the United States from overseas and wanted to make arrangements with me. I never answered their e-mails because they looked suspicious. My sister was ripped off for a car that was sold through an arrangement with people she contacted through e-bay. They sent the check for the car and she was supposed to forward money to a 3rd party for costs for someone to pick the car up and arrange for shipping it overseas. Of course nobody ever heard from them again and their check bounced. Meanwhile by the time my sister found out it was a scam they drained her bank account. The loss was never recovered. She had to pay for it and the people were never caught.
  3. It is the 'poor' English construction that should be all the negative information you need to just trash the e-mail.

    If the character can't send cash via courier, there is no need to tinker with the idea of taking payment any other way.
  4. YEARS ago, I received a phone call at my small photo retail operation that fronted my studio and lab. The guy mentioned a new Polaroid camera that has just come out and wanted to know if I had it in stock, I told him I'd have to order it and that it would take about 3 days to get it. I further told him I'd need a 1/3rd deposit.
    I was a Friday, and he came in just before I closed for the 3 day weekend. He said the camera was a gift for his sister and that he'd pay for it in full.
    The camera was $125.00, and he made out a personal check for $150.00, saying that he needed 25 bucks cash for the weekend.(This was in '70s dollars.)
    The banks were closed, and it all didn't look right, so I dug out my Thomas Street Guide to check the address on the check, located in a L.A. suburb. The street number didn't agree with the numbers shown on the check. I pointed this out for him and asked for more ID. He got all fidgety and darted out of the store.
    I kept that check for years, and sure enough, it was bogus.
  5. Yeah, odd capitalization in the middle of sentences is always a giveaway - Photographer, Son for example, no native English speaker does that. Also photo's instead of photos, lense instead of lens, etc are other classic warning signs.
  6. PS All cheques take at least 3 working days to clear - the scam relies on you not waiting to see, but sending your cheque straight away. My bank shows balance (which would include a cheque that I'd just paid in) and "available balance" (which is money that I can actually spend, and doesn't include uncleared cheques).
  7. Any time someone wants to pay you more than you are owed it is a scam. And it's not a new one, as Art mentioned it has been going on for years and years. They use it on anyone who is selling something, whether it be cameras, bicycles, or even services. It's a scam every time, no exceptions. Well, maybe if they are paying in greenbacks...

  8. YAWN! This is so old! been around forever!
  9. I just got one of these this week. Most times I just delete them but sometimes I just like to f*** with them. They offer to pay more than my package price. I reply I need just the package price. They offer to send a check. I request a credit card. They offer deposit, I require all money paid up font in cash or credit card due to late booking date. After a couple days, they disappear.

    But most of the time, I just delete.

    Oh! And then there is the one about the dead relative and they want to send millions as a commission for helping them get the money out of some African nation. I suggest that I'd prefer my money be given to the poor in their country. Haven't heard back on that one :)
  10. I played along with this guy sending him quote, which he agreed to, then I told him I needed his address to send the contract so that he could sign it and return it with the payment. I never heard from him again.


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