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 <williamsegobia@live.com>
To: xxxxxxx@yahoo.com
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.
Thanks,
Williams.

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:

Moreover,we also made an arrangement with a logistics agent who will take care of all the other guests logistics to include.
1) Flights for us
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.

Hello Peter,
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.
Thanks:
Williams

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.

FBI ALERT

From:
FBI <fbi@fbi.com>

Add to Contacts
To:    XXXXXXXX@yahoo.com
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.
Regards;
FBI.

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.

Just beware!

Cheers and good shooting – Peter Zack

*nice work if you can get it!

Related posts:

  1. Recommended Wedding Photographer
  2. Weddings Can Be Funny Too! Wedding Photographer Fails
  3. The Unplugged Wedding – Hopefully a New Trend
  4. How Hard Is It to Photograph a Wedding?
  5. Would You Trade Sex for Your Wedding Photography Services?


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

  

13 Comments

  1. This is hilarious! I almost chocked on my lunch when I read the letter from the “FBI” :-D

    Do these people actually scam anyone successfully? They do say there are two fools born each minute, but this seems ridiculous.

  2. OMG the email from “fbi@fbi.com” is unbelievable! Nice investigative journalism Peter! This site has everything!

    oh, and another way to annoy the telemarketers:

    I really want to try it out…

  3. I love how the ‘fbi’ address you as “Mr. Peter”-LOL
    Too funny.

  4. “I spy, for the FBI”. You’ll have to supply the tune.

  5. I got an email with the same information just diffrent name. He said hes name was Jimmy Miller and number is 447035975733 and fiances name Brook Becher. Wedding date set for 9/11/10 and wanted to make crdit card payment, I suspected it was a scam and I set up a pay pal account and he said he had problems with pay pal and asking me when would I be getting the credit card machine. I send him and email today saying I would not be getting the machine and to look for another planner. Hope he does not reply and that he stops this game of he,s. Because come on ,who from Europe will come to USA to get married, when is the other way around and $50,000 thousand budget for 50 people and so many lies of hes that he gives himself away. To this imposter, get a job and stop trying to steel peoples bank accounts!

  6. Thank you very much Peter …these e-mails are arrived in Italy…and I found the scam with your website.. thanks…well, my english is not perfect but I saw all the mistakes..!!!

  7. just got one its a joke. just look
    .May this email find you well. Thanks for your confirmation that your firm can handle the make ups for my client, sorry for late reply but i had to conclude payment arrangement with my client to ensure that the date are secured. And also making arrangement with the logistic agent whom will be responsible for booking of the hotel, accommodation and transportation for my team during our stay.

    I am glad to tell you that i have concluded all payment arrangement with my client for your deposit and that of our logistics agent to secure bookings. My client whom is presently on offshore job on oil rig has confirmed to send over the credit card details for this payments as soon as i request for it, but i want to confirm that only you will handle this credit card information in your firm as the logistic agent confirmed that he does not have credit card charging facility as his account does not support that. So i have to make this deposit payments to him through you to enable him secure the bookings for us as soon as possible.

    Once you receive the credit card information, you are advised to make the total charges of £6,500 keep the total sum of £2,000 as a deposit for your services and send the balance of £4,500 to the logistics agent over there to enable him secure the bookings for us. I have not requested for the credit card details from my client as i don’t know the exact information you will need to make the charges e.g: card number, expiration date and? Kindly confirm the information you will need and provide me with the below information for office records:

    Full Name:
    Office Address:
    Phone:

    Awaits your email with the above information and confirmation that the credit card information is secured in your position.

    Regards,

    Elizabeth Williams.
    keep a look out for this name !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Gavin, the only way we’ll stop these people from attempting these crude scams is by closing down the internet.

      Come to think of it, they’d probably go back to using letters again… Ah well, let’s at least laugh about it.

  8. Looks Like its still going! Thank you so much for posting this.
    I got one that is almost word for word from Dr Cole
    Plus they also send through the below information.
    Date: October 8, 2011
    Time of Day: 12:00 PM noon
    Budget: US$ 60,000.00
    Number of Guests: 35-40
    Ceremony Type: Church
    Reception: open air reception within the ground
    No of Out of Town Guests: 15
    Number of Hotel Rooms Needed: 10 single rooms and 5 double rooms
    Number of Children: 8 children
    Color Choice(s): Blue and White
    Number of Bridesmaids (if applicable): 5
    Number of Groomsmen (if applicable): 4
    Number of Ushers (if applicable) 6
    Type of Buffet setup
    Type of Entertainment: live entertainment
    Confirm you have POS for Payment.
    Best Regards,
    Engr. Paul Cole
    Phone:+44 (0) 702-401-2489
    Fax :+44 (0) 871 528 3364

    Thanks again you have saved me a great deal of time.

    Gina

  9. so crazy…I got a very similar email and figured it was a scam, but just to be sure I googled part of the email and your site came up – thank you for sharing your experience – these people are insane! Now I just to figure out if I should stop contact or get the credit card info so that I can alert the bank…

  10. The deputy direсtor of the FDA division that oversees metabolic drus stated,
    “I was a little surprised the vote went as it did”, the deputy diгector felt thаt although
    many panelists weгen’t strongly against Qnexa, but possibly just had ѕome lingering concerns
    that would make them vote no. Add to that the danger оf using Phentermine for periods longer than a few weekѕ.
    Recently a number of рeople including physіcians have cοme forward to inform this author that a pοlitically active member of the medical pгofession has established more than
    a half dozen offices to ρrovidе diet pills to the community.

  11. Quality content is the main to interest the viewers to visit
    the web site, that’s what this web page is providing.

Leave a Response