Don’t Fall for the Family Reunion Scam
The latest scam is hitting photographers from every side.
This is the classic Overpayment Scam under the guise of hiring a photographer to shoot a 5 hour family reunion in the “general vicinity” of the photographer’s base of operations, “some time” in the next month. As if those vagaries are not enough to put the recipient on high alert, the very fact that the scammer wants to know the dates the photographer is available.
A legitimate client planning a family reunion would have nailed down the venue and date long before this point in time and would most certainly not let the photographer determine the date.
And then there’s the kicker…
The scammer wants to make sure the photographer takes credit card payments and they want to overpay what the quote is by more than double so the “mark” can pay the “event coordinator” or some other bogus title, who does not accept credit cards.
This is classic.
These scams started out coming in via text messages (that should be the first clue), but now they are rolling out via LinkedIn and email.
Some recent examples: (red flags are highlighted in red)
Via LinkedIn today:
My name is james hannon. I am 48 years old, married with 2 wonderful children. I am a relatively successful entrepreneur and huge investor in the real estate market and Financial services.I’ll like to know your free available date in September for my family reunion (5 hours photo coverage) coming up in your city. Also i want family portraits done for the all the families coming together for the reunion .
Awaiting to read from you soonest .
Via email today:
This is Mary Lawrence, Am hearing impaired, 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 on canvas printed and digital images because we have 6 families coming together for the reunion event. The event will be held locally here in the state but i will give you the main address once i have the address from the event planner i will cover the travel expenses if needed. and i hope you can handle this event. I’ll make the full payment with my credit card to book the date also i will forward you the event venue once the event planner book the hall …Get back to me if you can handle this for me
Via text a few days ago – full conversation for your amusement.
Dimwit: My name is Kendrick Carson I got your contact from manta list am looking for a good photographer that can handle my family reunion coming up in sometime August, let me know you available date in august and see if we can have a discussion about the fee.
Yours Truly: When and where is this to be?
Dimwit: Thank for the reply we intend having the re union on the 22 of August But if we like to know if you available on that date and the re union party is taking place in FRISCO, TX it will be a five hours party
Moi: Will you want prints? If so, how many?
Will you want formal portraits?
Will you want a slideshow of the finished images?
Dimwit: yes i want every photo taking that day printed and i a portrait for my own family no slide show for the finished image it going to be a 8X10 portraits.
Me: So you want 8×10 prints of everything I shoot?
Intended victim: You realize that could be 800 photos, right?
Dimwit: Okay that fine Do you accept credit card as payment cause am intend to pay part of the deposit to you before you get to the event cause i will need a little favor from you
Not likely to be a victim: I do accept credit cards, but not from slimy goat f$cking scammers.
From lying sacks of donkey sh!t I only accept gold bullion. For $50,000 in gold we can continue this conversation. Otherwise you can go back to f%&king your goat
Dimwit: what all this? do i look like a scammer to you?
Me: Yes, as a matter of fact, you do. I am forwarding our little conversation to the Texas Attorney General.
So… My first clue was that this has been tried on me before – it’s a classic Overpayment scam.
My second clue was a TEXT initiating contact for a high-dollar shoot
My third clue was the hideous excuse for english.
I could have just told him to go to hell, but I felt obligated to mess with him. It was a Louisiana area code burner phone.
The favor he would have asked for would have gone something like him paying more than double what I asked for with a bogus card and having me write a check for the difference to some other “vendor” who did not take credit cards.
I might have been born at night, but it sure as hell wasn’t LAST night.