Scammer: Krystal Collins firstname.lastname@example.org
Eariler this month I received a request for to photograph a family reunion that ended up being a scam.
How are you today? I was doing a little research online for an event photographer for my family reunion that’s coming up, I want you to capture the wonderful event. My name is Krystal Collins and do you accept credit card payment? Get back to me if you do, i will be looking to read from you ASAP.
Ok, a couple of typos nothing to note as a scam yet.
I would be happy to photography your family reunion and I do accept credit cards. I have PayPal account I run the credit cards through.
What days and times are you interested in?
Ok this response from her is where it starts to get interesting:
Thank you for the swift response. The dates has been narrowed down to some weekends date in the month of August (15th, 16th, 29th & 30th) and September (5th, 6th, 12th & 13th) but it depends on which which of the date you have available. I want you to check your schedules and get back to me with the dates you have open.
The event is going to be held on a private property about an hour or two drive from your zip code. I’m in the hospital (recovery unit) I had ear surgery and the doctor wants me to stay away from phone at the moment till I fully recovered but i can still text. That is the reason why i emailing for this event.
The event consist of both indoor & outdoor activities. I want you to be there for 4 hours (1pm-4pm) to take about 250-350 candid shots, I want the candid shots burn on 3 DVD’s. Also during the 4 hours that you are going to be there, you will take one big family portrait shot that will be printed in 3-16×20 regular matte print. The total numbers of 25-30 peoples will be present at the event including children between the ages of 9-12 years.
I want you to work on an estimate for me and get back to me with the total cost for this event but i will be making 50% deposit upfront to secure the date you have open with my credit card. I’m looking forward to read from you ASAP
Flag 1 – I would like to think that I am such a fantastic of a photographer that someone would be willing to move their schedule around just to have me but I am a realist. That seemed a little odd.
Flag 2 – Ok, usually real customers give you the exact location but not a breaker yet.
Flag 3 – An ear surgery that took out both her ears? What? The details about the event are good enough and don’t spark any warnings but the ear thing is still confusing me. I haven’t heard of that before and who shares that much personal info so fast? And she is emailing not texting. Again odd.
Flag 4 – Next catch is she is willing to give me a 50% retainer with out me asking. Interesting… most people ask first.
Flag 5 – The grammar/typos are a little worse in this one. I heard that bad grammar and typos are often initial in scams because anyone who isn’t going to catch them often don’t catch it’s a scam until it’s too late. It’s a war of skimming off anyone who it wouldn’t work on anyway before they spent too much time and reveil too much. This keeps the scams from bring published as quickly.
At this point I was very hesitant but was curious to see if it was a scam and how they would do it. Google did show anything about the scam yet. So I send back a quick quote to see how the scam worked.
Thank you for the estimate and I’m ready to make the 50% deposit payment with my credit card, the September 12th will work fine for us. But there is just one unusual favor that i am going to request from you.
The event planner coordinating this event doesn’t have the facility to receives credit card payment, I want you to do me the favor of adding their fees to yours and have it run manually on my credit card. After you ran it through and the payment becomes available in your account, you will help me to forward their fees to them so that they can continue with their arrangement.
I’ll be responsible for every charges including the 3.5% credit card charges, $100 tip&gratuity for you, 50% deposit for your service, and the event planner fees. I hope you will be able to assist me with my request.
Boom there it is! A stolen/fake credit card paid to me. I pay the scammer who takes the money and runs. The credit card charge gets reversed and taken out of my account when the credit card company finds it is a fraudulent charge and I get stuck with the bill. Common scam. I want mention the other flags in this last email I think they are obvious.
To all small business owners beware of the kind of scam it can be used on most all business types.