Photographers, beware of this old scam that’s going around again

Jun 12, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographers, beware of this old scam that’s going around again

Jun 12, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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I’m not happy to say that people can get very creative when coming up with scams. And it looks like an old one has been going around again lately. So, be extra careful when taking jobs and don’t disregard anything that looks like a red flag.

Redditor laddphoto warned the community of the scam as he received an email with a “job offer” that has red flags all over it. After replying to the initial email from the “potential client,” this is the reply that he got:

“Good day, Thanks for getting back to me and I’m sorry for the late response due to my busy schedule the essential reason for contacting you is right now am doing a social work to help the victim of Earthquake in Nepal and Ecuador also to provide cloth, food and shelter for less privilege kids. I’ve been following your work since I love your style! I recently got engaged and am wondering if I can get more information on your availability and pricing for my wife birthday party i would be needing your photographer service for my 40 years wife birthday on the 28th of June, 2020 which will be held in my house here in Houston, TX i will be needing your service for almost 8 hours i hope you can handle that for me  Hope to hear back from you soon and get back to me with an estimate also will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you accept check as payment.”

While reading this email, my inner voice was screaming “Scam alert! Scam alert!” First of all, who else starts an email with “Good day?” It sounds like a clumsy direct translation of a greeting that’s used in another language (trust me, I’m bilingual). Why mentioning Nepal and Ecuador and the alleged help to its victims? What does that have to do with anything? “I recently got engaged and am wondering if I can get more information on your availability and pricing for my wife birthday party” – you got engaged to your wife? You mention engagement but need a photographer for her birthday? What? And these are only some of the warning signs.

Fortunately, laddphoto is clever enough to recognize red flags. These are quite obvious, but note that some scammers are way more cunning. It’s not always this easy to spot the red flags.

Now, laddphoto explains how this kind of scam works. “You reply with an estimate, then without any other response, they courier a check to you, typically using a service like DHL,” the Redditor writes.

“The check will be made out to you and it will be for way more than the amount of your estimate. They will include a note with instructions that you are to deposit the check and send the balance to another vendor, typically an event planner. Of course the check they wrote to you is counterfeit, so you’re out whatever funds you send to the ‘event planner.’”

After reading laddphoto’s explanation, I found the story very familiar. This scam was already going around and we wrote about it last year. Back then, this kind of scam had cost victims nearly $5 million in 2019 only!

Laddphoto believes that it’s not a coincidence that this scam has emerged again. “I think the timing of this is not surprising being that people are hungry for work right now,” the Redditor writes. I absolutely agree. Many photographers were left without work during the pandemic. Now that the world is slowly coming back to normal (sort of), they’re eager to get work as soon as possible, so their guard might be down. So please, be careful and don’t fall for anything that seems even remotely fishy.

[via Reddit]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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8 responses to “Photographers, beware of this old scam that’s going around again”

  1. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    This scam is older than the internet, but still work.

  2. Jose Sanchez Avatar
    Jose Sanchez

    “who else starts an email with “Good day?” It sounds like a clumsy direct translation of a greeting that’s used in another language”

    So, I reckon you’ve never met any Australians mate… ?

  3. Jason Artiga Avatar
    Jason Artiga

    I had somebody do this to me, and I tricked them into sending me money through venmo and return I will give them gift cards, but I needed the money to purchase the cards, in about a date they cursed me out through Facebook…

  4. Alan Laighleis Avatar
    Alan Laighleis

    this is older than the hills. this scam was used for car sales well over 20 years ago. you would advertise something for sale (I heard it happened a lot in car sales) , get a call from someone probably over seas that’s interested they send a cheque out for more than you want for the car and apologise for their mistake and ask you to refund the difference to them. it can take a number of days for a cheque to clear and be flagged as bogus by banks so by the time you find out it’s a dud you’ve probably already refunded them and sent on the item for sale.

  5. Albin Avatar
    Albin

    I’d say what’s surprising is that scammers have not been more creative in crafting more convincing overtures to get locked in photograhers to share useful personal information, rather than a Nigeria-style send me money pitch. Anybody who would send dollars to somebody else based on an unverified check or other deposit should go back to school.

  6. Paul H Avatar
    Paul H

    Who starts an email with Good Day? Any Aussie or Kiwi will. We often abbreviate it to G’day. The biggest alarm to me is accepting payment by cheque. You are fine until they ask you to transfer the excess funds. Then you just say “Yep sure where do I post my Cheque to?”.

  7. David Blacker Avatar
    David Blacker

    Who would return/forward excess funds until the cheque has realised?

  8. Daniel Sarli Avatar
    Daniel Sarli

    “Fortunately, laddphoto is clever enough to recognize red flags. These are quite obvious, but note that some scammers are way more cunning. It’s not always this easy to spot the red flags.”
    Actually they do this on purpose, they want to hit the dumbest of the dumbest, and if you don’t notice all these red flags, it is very likely you will fall for the whole package.
    If you are smart enough they are not interested in you, because at one point you will notice and they will loose time, so they have to filter somehow.