Wedding Planner or Photographer Scams
by Peter Zack
A cautionary tale in case you get one of these emails.
From: What the Duck
Scams, if you have an email address (if you’re here you do, of course), you get the emails all the time. If you are like me, with a dedicated web site and a visible email address, you get dozens daily. Spam filters do a good job but just to make sure that something legit isn’t missed, I still check the spam daily for a real client who might be filtered.
I don’t need anything enlarged, I like my job and am not looking for a new one. I’m happy that my wife arranges all my dates. I have enough credit cards and suspect there’s no free money anywhere. I hate survey’s and loved Seinfeld’s solution to that.
So recently I got one I knew was a scam. It sounded similar to many of the rest. I decided I wanted to see how this was going to ‘play out’ and how much they might want to take me for. Really it was a waste of time but possibly worth sharing with others in case you think you are going to land the “big deal”. Plus I kind of liked the idea of getting them all excited, wasting some of their time, that they might have a sucker on the hook to rob from.
In total, there were 12 emails back and forth . First I’m not a full time wedding planner, even if I do help brides with many of the arrangements. So there’s his first mistake, not knowing what I do.
So here’s how it works:
The wording changes from email to email but the common theme is a “logistics manager” or “agent” the scammer will mention in most at some point.
The very first email:
From: Williams Egobia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sat, January 30, 2010 1:37:09 AM
Subject: I need an experienced wedding planner
Hello,My name is Williams Egobia, I need an experienced wedding planner who will handle my wedding and arrange the reception dinner for a group of people who will be attending the wedding ceremony.The wedding is expected to hold on the 27th of Feb 2010 and 70 to 90 guests are expected to attend. As i do not know what the guests might choose for their meals and drinks, i will make a prepayment as initial deposit for this booking once availability is confirmed by you. All checks and balances will be made with you on 19th of Feb which is the final day of the booking, You are to arrange for a venue for the wedding a place for the reception ,Videography, Music Entertainment, Photography, cake and flowers. Please If there is any these items that is beyond your capability, you let me know so that another company can handle it. Get back to me with your response as i don’t have much time with me so that i can process our accommodation.
After a few emails, he finally sent me his Visa card info which I passed on to Visa to alert them of the card number.
Here’s part of a follow up email:
2) International Airport transfer
3) Transportation logistics during our stay
However,because of security reasons and confidentiality reposed on you and because they do not have credit card facility,we have decided that only you will have to handle the credit card information.
He couldn’t trust the “Logistics Agent” with the credit card info, only me! I feel so privileged!
Now when you think about this, the logistics agent is arranging travel visas and transportation for all the guests. So you trust him to get you safely into a country, get everyone to the same place on time etc. But you can’t trust him to see your Visa card? He has all your personal info for a travel visa but not the credit info.
Yeah sure. I’m some internet stranger that you don’t know, that you trust with thousands of dollars. Foolishness.
So at the end, I told him the deal was off and that I would no longer waste any more time with this. He threatens the FBI on me. Humm, since I don’t live in the USA, I guess I don’t have to worry about them much.
Finally I get these 2 emails, the last of which showed up in my spam folder, how ironic.
What are you talking about: Do you know that this will attract the law by accusing me being a scam.
Look i will involve FBI if care did not taking. Meanwhile i don’t know what your talking about. By the way who and who is telling you the mess. Please if you have done the charges kindly send my logistic their advance. Do you think every one is into the mess.
If you read all the emails, you see that the English isn’t bad with a few spelling and grammar mistakes. But in a hurry to salvage this, his email breaks down a lot more.
Add to Contacts
Attention Mr Peter:
We got a emergency latter from your business partner Mr Williams now: He said that he has on transaction going on with you: Also he said that he gave you his credit card info which he instructed you to charge and make a deposit to his logistic and your having double mind:
Meanwhile You dont have anything to fear because we have all his information: you can go ahead for the transaction! we are monitoring:
DO NOT REPLY THIS MASSAGE.
Now that looks pretty official doesn’t it! Those FBI guys are so secret that you can’t write them back! No letterhead no signature, nothing.
So just a note to beware if you think you’re getting caught up in one of these. We can normally spot them quickly but they are getting smarter and using better English and details to get your attention.
Watch out for a few things:
1st is that the time is short to make the arrangements.
2nd is this “Logistics agent” stuff.
3rd is that there is no sense of urgency, even though the time is short.
4th is they will ask you to withdraw more than you need. I said $10,000 for deposits. He said take out $11,000 and send $6,000 to the logistics agent. If they offer more, it’s a big red flag.
Finally, they will not question your quote. Say anything you want, I quoted $27,233.52* and he had no problems with the amount. In fact the higher it is, the more they like it so the logistics agent can take a bigger percentage.
Cheers and good shooting – Peter Zack
*nice work if you can get it!
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Tags: Red Flag, scam, Scammers, Seinfeld, Spam, Telemarketing, Wedding planner spam, Wedding scam, Wedding Spam