You may be familiar with the increasingly popular scam targeting photographers. Scammers use Facebook Marketplace, pay through Venmo, and cancel the payment after you’ve already handed over the gear. Photographer Jennifer Khordi was scammed this way and had her $3,800 worth Nikon D810A stolen. But, thanks to the community and photographer Eli Wohl, the scammer was identified and Khordi got her camera back.
Jennifer Khordy listed her DSLR through Facebook Marketplace and soon got contacted by a buyer named “Daniel Rodriguez.” He asked her if she accepted Venmo, and she agreed to receive the payment that way. “Rodriguez” paid $2,700 through Venmo, him and Khordy met up and she handed over the camera. Shortly after, her Venmo account was frozen, and they notified her that she was a victim of a scan. But it was too late –her camera was already gone.
As an attempt to warn other photographers Khordy shared her story in a photography group. Eli Wohl saw her warning, and “Daniel Rodriguez” contacted him only two days later with the same question: would he accept Venmo payment for the Nikon D850 he had listed on Facebook Marketplace? Wohl shared the screenshot of the conversation with Khordy, and they came to the conclusion that it was, indeed, the same guy. This is when they took steps to prevent “Rodriguez” from scamming other photographers.
Khordi started calling B&H and Adorama to inform them of the theft and provide the serial number of the camera in case someone offers it for a trade-in. As it turned out, the scammer had already been at B&H and dropped off the camera. The store checked the serial number and confirmed that it was in their possession. They also immediately added the man to their blacklist.
Only five days later, the same man appeared at B&H again, this time with a Canon lens. The clerk saw he was on the blacklist, called the security, and the man ended up in custody. B&H called Khordi, she called Wohl, and he managed to rush to the store and capture some photos of the scammer.
Reportedly, B&H had paid the man $1,800 for Khordy’s camera. But, they’ll incur the loss and return the camera to Khordy. As PetaPixel writes, Khordy filed a claim in New Jersey, so the NYPD had to let the man go because it falls out of their jurisdiction. As Khordy tells PetaPixel, the man refused to turn himself in. The Aberdeen, New Jersey police are bringing charges against him, and if he fails to appear in court, they will issue a warrant for his arrest.
If you plan to buy or sell gear online, be super-careful to avoid scams. Here is a useful guide for buying and selling gear online. If you have already been scammed by the same man as Jennifer Khordy, you can get in touch with her and help build the case against the scammer.