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Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

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Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Miss Yoko on Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:37 pm

Guys!!! I feel so bad!!!

I got a request for a big bday party in May! After several mail the guy asked me to get other entertainer, clowm, ballon, twister, magic etc ...
I spend a lot of time trying to set up everything!
Then when it came to payment...

Its a scam!!!

I am MAD!!!!

It was a scam! Fortunately, I didn't get into the trap. As they was asking if I was accepting credit card... which I don't I just then proposed the guy to pay via Paypal.

Since no answer as they cannot do their thing via Paypal.

The request was from some dude called Mike Dunn, presenting himself as a Senior Financial Analyst, and a widower who wanted to make her daughter birthday wonderful!

There is the primary message that I got :

"Hello,
> My Name is Mike Dunn Senior Financial Analyst and widower, I'm
> Presently away on course which i would be back soon because my 5 years
> old Daughter will be having her 5th birthday Party and i will need
> your service to come and entertain the guest including the children
> and adults on that day, so i will like you to get back to me with the
> price list of the entertainment packages you can offer on that day as
> i will like the day to be one of the best birthday party for my
> Daughter.
> Your swift response will be highly appreciated.
> Regards
> Mike
>
"

Dont tell me that the message sounds weird at the start I got real ones that was not better!

Then look what I found online doing some research (its not the same email address but)
http://www.xmission.com/~daina/autoscamlist/sinfo_0000185.html
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by pjhamel on Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:04 pm

hmmm...I think that this might be the same scam that tried to get me when I first started out. I didn't fall for it, Thank God, but I feel for you.
I will have to go see if I can find those emails to see if it was the same one.
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Miss Yoko on Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:08 pm

I didn't really had any problems... just time wasted...
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Tash on Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:45 pm

They were talking about this scam on the snaz forum... apparently quite a few people got the same email.
Honestly if you get emails with such bad grammatical errors then I feel for you as that is how you tell it's a scam.
Didn't you think it was strange that he said he was a widower?...and his job title but no company?
If I got this I would be majorly suspicious.
Maybe next time you get one of these - post it here and let others make the call for you if they think it's a scam or not.
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by cc on Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:52 pm

Thanks for the warning!
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Miss Yoko on Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:53 pm

Tash...

English is not my first language... I do myself a lot of grammar mistakes.
I have customers that are spanish or from east europe... they don't have a perfect grammar... and then some of my american customers are worse!!!

The fact that he said he was a widower was a good explanation for a huge party for his little daughter...

Like I said... some people are strange... so why not...

But them... again what saved me is that I don't take Credit Card payment or with paypal which is completely safe. And its why they gave up.

I'm mad because yes I got fooled for a few days... and yes I spend lots of time and energy to set-up the party...
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by ChangingFaceDesigns on Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:05 pm

Sorry that happened to you Yoko, but thanks for letting us know.
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Miss Yoko on Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:10 pm

Your welcome guys! Its what we have to do!

Its good to share the good... but even better to share the bad!
"cause Tash... I'm sure I'll not be the only one to be fooled.

I mean I get so much of requests especially know with spring and summer coming... that yes... I just answer and try to manage my business...
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Ruth on Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:01 pm

Thanks for giving us a heads up. and I totally agree about the grammatical errors lol english is my second language and I sure do make a ton of mistakes lol
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by CrazyPainter on Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:52 pm

This is going to sound like a dumb question, but what is the scam? Maybe I'm being dense, but they don't appear to actually be asking you for anything.

My policy since day 1 was to always to bookings on the phone. I'll answer emails and such about pricing, but the actual agreement happens on the phone, and by faxed contract.

Although I did get rooked once. I used to be fairly casual about deposits when it came to home birthday parties. (I only used contracts and such for larger stuff.) One day I showed up at a house for a party and was flabbergasted when a 20something guy, obviously angry, answered the door and said "I didn't hire a @@@@ clown."

Turns out I was the 3rd one that had knocked on his door in the last 15 minutes. Someone had pranked the guy and gone thru the phone book sending clowns from different companies to his house.

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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Noella on Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:01 pm

The scam is they want to pay by credit card - but they will overpay - they will want you to send money to a "DJ" or the location they have booked, or a caterer, or a friend who is getting something for them - but the credit card or check is fake and they want you to send cash (or Western Union for example). So basically you might have $2500 but it be useless to you (because it is stolen or fraudulent) and you are out $2000 that you sent on to someone else (who is likely part of the scam).
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Miss Yoko on Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:08 pm

Yep! Its exactly the way it works! Noella said it perfect!

I usually dont take deposit! But in that case was others entertainers involved. Then I wanted to really secure the thing... 'cause having a cancellation on me... that can be ok... but on 3 other entertainers... I don't wanted it.

But then as they cannot use stolen credit card number on Paypal, they just stopped communicate with me. Its why I started to search about it... 'cause hey... It was a 4 hours party pn a saturday... in May! I didn't wanted to hold a date for me and 3 others to get a cancellation...

I search on Google base on the guy name and found out about scams...

Again, not a big deal... but they become better! As in their 2nd mail they did personnalised as they told me that the party will be in Long Grove, which is a place where I do festivals in a regular way.... so... maybe I'm a dumb person... but be careful to dont feel to confident...
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Miss Yoko on Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:13 pm

And, Crazy Painter! I love email communication! When things are wrote, it means less mistakes!
I don't have any problem speaking english, but I just cannot understand some people... or barely! Then yes most of the time I have them on call, but they have to send me every details by email.
Then sometime, people just contact me by mail, and only by mail... its just the way it is! I even had some sending me only text messages! We have to deal with today's technologies and the way people are using it!
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Psalmbook on Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:29 pm

I've got this one a few times. Yup, it's a scam. I've also gotten a wedding in Miami where they MUST have me & will fly me in(not price is too high...). I'm good, but not that good Very Happy
Sorry you got scammed Sad
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Tilly - Formerly Punky on Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:03 pm

We got a scam like that a while back, not from the same guy, but a very similary kind of inquiry. What made it suspicious to me was that it was sent to MY e-mail, not my mom's which is the one we use for the business end of the business. The guy also directly requested a price list, not what he kind of package he could get. I read it and dismissed it almost immediately just based on the grammar.

The guy claimed to be a Vice President of a Bank (didn't say which bank, also suspicious). I'm sorry, but if you're the VICE PRESIDENT of any major company, you HAVE to have good grammar because otherwise you
1.) likely wouldn't have been hired to begin with by using that kind of grammar,
2.) Would have to write business letters to other companies or clients and would have your professionality brought into question by using such grammar, and
3.) likely have had to ammasse major presentations at some point and would be laughed out of the company for using such grammar.

ANYway... he also didn't include ANY contact info or exact dates, and I would think someone in that profession would include such information out of mere professional habit. So, I showed the e-mail to my mom and told her my concerns and she said she was thinking the along the same lines so we just didn't respond.

This may sound really bad, but usually, if the initial contact e-mail has such poor grammar, we usually don't book the client and pass them to someone else. With the exception of people for whom English is a second language, people who use such grammar strike me as uneducated and probably not someone I would enjoy doing business with.

Also, the fact that all he was concerned about was price, told me I didn't want to do business with him anyway. People who are soley concerned about price will almost always find SOMETHING wrong with what you do and will try to find some way of not paying you what you agreed upon, or at all (another reason contracts are a godsend).

Sorry for such a long post... just sharing.
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Miss Yoko on Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:03 pm

This may sound really bad, but usually, if the initial contact e-mail has such poor grammar, we usually don't book the client and pass them to someone else. With the exception of people for whom English is a second language, people who use such grammar strike me as uneducated and probably not someone I would enjoy doing business with.


Wow!!! ... sorry but ... no comment! I'm happy that we will never doing business together regarding my poor grammar and my lack of education!


Anyway I got the message that a lot of you are so smart here that they will never fall in a cybercrime trap...

Hmmm sorry maybe its because I'm too busy and I have to manage too much of request...
I'm far than dumb! Before being a FP I was working in France as a IT support for a company who does software for the French Governement and also my husband is the Senior Director of Wireless Security for a HUGE company (that I dont have the right to name here)... so I'm pretty much aware about all those stuffs... being too busy and wanted to work too fast made me make a mistake... but fortunately... it couldnt went too bad as I will never give the information to get really scammed...

you think you're ready... take a look at that! Scammers are nothing! :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ghvIAUOF7U


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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Tash on Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:24 pm

Miss Yoko,
You are IMO very easily offended. No-one meant any offence - nor did they say or even imply that you are dumb. You have read that into the posts.
We were mearly saying that the grammer AND content was enough to know it was a scam.
You are definately at a disadvantage with english being your second language, but that by no means makes you stupid.

I feel a little insulted that you think we are trying to come off as so smart we would never fall for a scam - this is not the case, the scams get more inventive and come from so many different places you can never be too safe.
I think in this case it was the number of 'red flags' that came up, there were quite a few things that did not come off as a normal request apart from the grammar. We thought if we told you what registered as red flags to us you might be able to stop yourself going through in the future.
It was nice of you to let people know this scam was going around, for people in the same situation as you.
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Miss Yoko on Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:27 pm

I'm sorry you feel insulted... but I felt insulted as well... especially when you sue that kind of words :
"for people in the same situation as you" ...
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Noella on Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:03 am

The only way to combat scammers and stop them is by educating those they target how they are working *today*. Thank you for posting this Miss Yoko - I had not contemplated that they were targeting entertainers in quite this way. It was much easier for me to recognize what you posted as a scam because you posted it labeled as such.

I regularly discuss scammers (and phishers and hackers) with others and even though I *know* what they are doing, and even how they are doing it, I still have to stop and think and make sure I don't do something without thinking.

For instance on FaceBook, there is a hack going on where a friend (who you likely trust completely), "sends" you chat or FB email saying "you are tagged in this - I can't believe it is you" (or something similar - look at this link for free FB credits etc etc etc), but when you call the person, they didn't initiate it - and they clicked on something similar from another friend - their account is now hacked and they are compromised.

Same with the "grandchild" scam - talk to any group of seniors and they all know someone who has been taken by it (if they themselves haven't) - and they often say they even knew about the scam but still got taken - I know of some where Western Union stopped them from sending money (they had made it that far).

We all think we would not get fooled - and I'd like to hope I won't be - but I know far too many people who have been (even educated on the dangers) to trust that I (or anyone) will be exempt from being tricked at some point in our lives.

Thank you for the heads up - and I'm very glad you caught it and didn't get pulled in by them.
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Tilly - Formerly Punky on Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:04 am

Miss Yoko, I did not mean to offend. I was definately not calling you dumb or stupid. I have studied foreign languages and have spent a lot of time with people from other countries who do NOT speak english very well. I do not hold that against them. If you notice, that in the part you quoted me on, I said "WITH THE EXCEPTION of people for whom English is a second language". Meaning, I understand that they don't speak, and thereby probably don't type english as well as some people. I however was referring to people for whom English IS their primary, and often times, ONLY language and then use grammar like that.

I am a professional, and I expect people to treat me as one. However, if I get a request for a gig and the person speaks to me in such an unprofessional way, that shows that they likely will not treat me like a professional either. That is why I said I likely would not enjoy doing business with them.

We (my mom and I) have received e-mails in the past where we could hardly even make out what the person was trying to say because they used so much text jargon and slang coupled with poor grammar and little to no capitalization or abbreviation. To me, that shows a very low level of respect and professionalism when trying to conduct business with someone. To show an example of what I mean, my mom received this in her e-mail 4 days ago:

"hey i seen u painten at that the waterferd hotel last week and u gave me ur card an i was wunderin if u cud paint at my dauters birthday next month. u did real good job at dat clown show my lil gurl was the cutes lil kat ever."

I know exactly who this lady is, I painted her daughter as a little white kitten... and if I remember correctly, she seemed slightly drunk when they were at the show. This is not the kind of person I would typically desire to do business with outside of PPF linework at a festival. This is the kind of person I was referring to Yoko, not you. I'm sorry you feel offended, and I admit I probably could have worded my post a bit better.
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Miss Yoko on Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:36 am

Yes Noella you are perfectly right! This is a real jungle! Smile

Thank you Punky I do really appreciate your apologize! And, ok, I never got an email like the one you posted, I do not know how I will react to it... you precise that in that case the mom was apparently drunk when you met her... but... what if she was perfectly normal and apparently a good mom? Will you still not making business with her regarding her poor education?

I mean for some people, it is their way to communicate and they don't mean to disrespect you at all, its just how they know to do.
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Mehndi Masala on Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:07 am

You can tell the difference usually between someone who is using English as a second language, and someone who is simply lazy or possibly not 'right'. The vast majority of my clients are usually from India, UAE or NRI with an accent on top of an accent (Hindi + London England = "Gimmie a second please and repeat that last sentance? Thanks")

Example : salam my name is layla im 31 years old from morocco like having friends around the world i lke indian music dance clothes..colors...and hope you accept me as a friend...

This happens to be a lovely lady and she is related to a friend of mine. She is a highly educated woman and a pleasure! She also speaks several languages.

Example: Ur stuff is g8! I want sum! PLEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAASEEEEEE!

This is someone I am unlikely to deal with. I may be completely off base that they are immature, disrespectful and unsure of how to do business. Doubt she walks up to the cashier and talks that way for her candybar. Probably more trouble than they are worth. I then fire back a very business-like response. If I get back more of the same, I will be unlikely to take this client. It's one thing to be 'chatting' as we all do here or privately texting someone on a phone, it's another thing when you don't know who is on the other end of the email and you are asking for services. I will say that I'm more likely to get that sort of communication via facebook than email tho.

I've ignored my instincts before and although I've never been 'burned' I've had 'issues' with difficult customers in the past.
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Re: Scam alert!!!! They even target small businesses!

Post by Tilly - Formerly Punky on Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:40 am

Exactly what I was trying to say, but better put Kim. I notice people who don't speak English as their first language usually have pretty decent spelling, the grammar and verb forms are just off a bit. Heck, when I was in Spanish in high school, I was guilty of the same thing, good spelling, but choppy sentences that didn't flow because I was bad at Spanish grammar.

However, people who speak like Example 2, are exactly the kind of people I will be unlikely to do business with. When I read something like that, or like what the lady from the hotel clown show sent my mom, I usualy picture some immature teenager or young adult who doesn't know how to speak in a business-like manner. I prefer to work with mature clients who will treat me respectfully and with a level of professionalism I deserve, and that is a personal choice. Could I be turning down potentially good clients? Yes, but that is a risk I am willing to take.


Last edited by Punky on Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:41 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling error)
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