Online scams are a pretty common occurrence, and many of them are aimed at photographers and other creatives. Lately, a scam has been going around targeting particularly portrait and fashion photographers. It’s pretty elaborate and it can be difficult to notice red flags, but it’s the details that will reveal that you should stay away from it.
SLR Lounge recently received an email from “Marie Claire Magazine” offering a photo shoot opportunity. The email seems pretty straightforward and there are no obvious signs of scam at the first look. But, a quick Google search can tell you more and reveal whether the email is legit. And in this case – it wasn’t.
If you have ever received an email like this, you know that it’s easy to believe that it’s real. Especially if the scammers use perfect English, a proper email address and a phone number. However, there are ways to check whether you’re targeted by scammers.
What I always do first is Google the sender’s name. If the scammer is sloppy, he or she will use the same name many times, so it will quickly pop out somewhere along with a scam warning. That’s an easy one. But what if the email comes from a renowned magazine? Well, there are a few more steps to take, just like the guys of SLR Lounge did.
First, the guys used the website Unknown Phone to search for the phone number from the email. It turned out that the people behind it are Nigerian scammers. In addition to Unknown Number (or in case there’s no phone number), you can also use whois.icann.org to check whether emails or websites are legit.
Another thing you can do is copy the text of the email and Google it. If this is a scam, you’ll likely stumble upon an article, a blog or a forum post discussing it. Scammers usually use similar wording and phrases in their emails, so you can compare them.
Photographers can get hyped about a tempting offer and easily blinded by the opportunity. And it’s perfectly normal. Sometimes it’s not even easy to discover whether the offer a scam or not. But take everything with a grain of salt and always check the background of the emails you receive. Just to be on the safe side.
[via SLR Lounge]