Wedding Photographer Scam
This is the Latest Scam to be Directed at Wedding Photographers…Be Aware!
Have you received a request to shoot a wedding lately that may have seemed either too good to be true? Perhaps it felt a bit shady? No matter how real it seemed, you could be the target of a current scam that is doing the rounds.
It is a scam that can easily slip by undetected because you actually get to bank the cheque into your account.
What happens is this
A person (usually from abroad...Nigeria) says that they are getting married at a legitimate venue in the UK, or the US. They would like you to be their photographer for the day. It is natural to agree and they will promise to send a cheque for the full amount that you agreed upon.
What then happens, is that a cheque for well over the agreed amount arrives.
Say you agreed to £800 GBP for shooting the day. A cheque for £3000 or more may arrive...DO NOT BANK IT!
If you were to bank the cheque, the "couple" would then call to say there had been a mistake. They had sent the full amount due to the hotel and not you. So rather than cancel the cheque and issue another one, would you mind transferring the difference back to them via Western Union. Also, deducting any charges incurred for them to pay or cover...seems ok?
What then happens is as soon as they receive your transfer for £2200, their original cheque either bounces or is cancelled. This leaves you short of an "untraceable" £2200 deficit.
This happened to Paolo
One of our members, Paolo, called me saying he had received a huge cheque for £3000. I told him to firstly check with the hotel that this couple are actually getting married and to also email the "client" to see what they say. Here is some correspondence between Paolo and "the bride".
Check out the poor grammar from the "bride" Maria…
I have received your cheque , the original quote for the wedding shoot on the 30 Nov was £750 . The cheque that I received is £3000, a substantial difference. What would you like me to do with this cheque as the amount is incorrect.
Maria: (maria jansen firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks you very much for you concern over our wedding program and also thank you for confirming the check with you. I will want you to know that the cheque was giving to us as donation from my well wishers as a gift on our wedding day so i will not want us to cancel the cheque so i will want you to get the money for your services which is £750 and help us to transfer the remaining amount to our wedding planner in Spain because he will use it to get the other necessary thing needed on our wedding day with below information.
Name: DESMOND HULL
Zip Code: 28001
Paolo I will want you to deduct western union charges from the remaining £2250 and not from your £750…We are really sorry for any inconvenience this might caused you and am also looking forward meeting you on before the wedding day maybe this weekend if am chance. Thank you very much hope to read back from you soon.
Scan of cheque received:
So, if you come across this type of scam, be alert and inform the relevant authorities and remember, please share this with your photographer friends!
All the best,
Replies via Facebook:
Derrick Steele · Works at The Warrior’s Path
Just reading this! My wife and I own a Stationery company. And the scam was using credit cards. They had a carrier that was to pick up the invitations and they would need me to bill the credit card for my invoice and the carrier’s invoice and send their money western union. I am going along with it to at least get the stolen credit card information to send to the FBI. Then I wish they were here so I could sock them once or twice for wasting my time and generally being a low down scoundrel
I’ve gotten a dozen or so of these types of emails, and I never have trusted them solely on the sender saying they are American living abroad and yet the English & spelling in the email are way off. If they are American they know how to speak our language, and if they are living abroad they are most likely highly educated and should be able to spell simple words correctly.
Tim Hicks · Owner-Operator at Creative Media Solutions
I’m a freelance videographer. Occasionally, I book weddings through my business, Creative Media Solutions. It seems they’re targeting wedding vendors in general. I received a scam through wedding wire.
This is the initial email that I received:
“kelly peter found your business directly on the vendor catalog and would like to know more about your services. Please respond to this inquiry within 24 hours. Here is the inquiry’s contact information:
Name: kelly peter.
Event Date: Jun 01, 2013.
Event Type: Wedding.
Hello, Am kelly peter, IA (USA).I am presently in London(UK) but probably I will be moving back home soon and I’ll be getting married shortly after my arrival in the states to my fiance Chris Sam. We will need a videographer. We might not be able to meet you soon as planned...due to our unavailability in the states but, we are willing to retain the date, that’s to make deposit for booking prior to our arrival to be sure we are interested in your service, if we really are. with best regards. Kelly….”
It was suspicious, but I responded anyhow. I sent some pricing options. Their next response:
“Thanks for keeping in touch with us. Here is the services we will like you to render to us, we will want you to send us your price for just 5 hours with high quality video, we will also need high quality video for future references and I’m sure we could browse through your website for more prints in future after the wedding event. And the wedding will be taking place in FLORIDA USA so let me know if you can be able to work for us..so kindly get back to me with your Contract form and your full details as follow so that once the contract form is filled my bank manager will get back to you with the check immediately the same week…”
I told them my company is located in Iowa and they need to find someone in Florida… Or it would cost thousands of dollars to hire me and travel 1,500 miles to Florida.
“m ok weht the price thank for the mail kindly get back to me with your details as follow so that my bank manager will get back to you with the check immediately the same week…
HERE IS THE DETAILS:
Hope to read from you soon…
God bless you”.
Yeah, I think we can officially say that I’ve been scammed… So annoying.
Dave Kulik · University of Maryland
I have one of these ongoing right now. The “bride” cannot speak on the phone because she is hearing impaired (so “she” says), but wants to book us for the 15th of September. Half a dozen emails back and forth (a big waste of my time), the last of which I just read; the bride, “Alicia”, who states she is in the UK, has made a payment to her wedding planner for the photography, but a mistake has caused her to send “a little too much,” and would I please cash her check and forward the balance right away to her wedding planner, who has to pay for the venue. Red flags started to fly when I read this one. What do these Nigerians think we Americans are, anyway, stupid?
Maurice Stanford · Photographer at Self-Employed
Had this one a few years ago for some reason when I told the person requesting I had sent the cheque to the local police fraud office they never got back me!
Lyle Mallen · Owner-Operator at Foto Micar
Yes an old scam that has been around before, keep well away. Note if it sounds too good to be true is probably is.