Steven Says:

EMAIL SCAM: Photography Inquiry

Here’s an email I got a few days ago from Tabitha Madison.  Through my research on the internet, this fictional name that has been used over and over again to scam wedding companies.

“Hello,

My name is Tabitha Madison,i live in Kaneohe, HI. I am presently in London(UK)but probably will be moving back home soon and i’ll be getting married shortly after my arrival in the states to my fiance Dave Richard .We will need a wedding/party Photographer to help us in making up our ceremony from the church to the hotel reception.We will like to find out what your plans are for Thursday, September 26th,2013. This is the date of our wedding so kindly let us know your availability for this day.We’ll take responsibility for your expenses regarding our plans.we might not be able to meet you soon as planned,due to our unavailability in the states but,we are willing to retain the date, that’s to make deposit for booking prior we to our arrival to be sure we are interested in your service,if we really are.Waiting to get your response. ” – Tabitha and Dave

I have to admit, these scammers are getting a little better.  Even though I had some reservations, I still returned the inquiry just in case it wasn’t, and here was the reply I got.

“Hello Once Again Steve,

Thanks for keeping in touch with us. Here is the services we will like you to render to us,we will want you to send us your price for just four hours with high quality images on 1DVD, we have decided to deal and pay for parents albums immediately after our wedding,we will be able to select the size and style of albums we want in that way. We will also need high quality pictures for future references and i’m sure we could browse through your website for more prints in future after the wedding event.We are expecting to see up to 20-25 guests on that day(family members included) Also,we want you to know that we are having two locations for the wedding in the same area, that is from the church to the reception,as soon as we have the wedding locations we will have the full information sent to you for future reference.Get back to us here with nthe price for your service(four hours) so that we can have further discussions in calculation.The city where the wedding ceremony/reception is taking place is Kaneohe, HI and the ceremony starts by 12pm.

Best Regards Tabitha and Dave”

 

email scammers 2Unfortunately, they are no longer using the word “opportunity” anymore.

The scary part, these scammers are getting pretty good.  They know about parent folios, and that many photographers share their photos online with couples these days.   They’ve apparently have done a little homework on how the wedding industry works.  On the surface, it may look rather legit, but there are a handful of red flags.

  • The most obvious would have to be their style of writing.  If Tabitha truly lived in Kaneohe, HI, in my home town, she wouldn’t write in this manner.  A local, addressing a local, just doesn’t speak or write like this.  Her grammar is just horrible, and there are too many run-on sentences.  Her horrible grammar wasn’t that big of a red flat as many locals here in Hawaii have horrible grammar haha.  (Yes, our public schools here suck.)
  • Tabitha states:  We will need a wedding/party Photographer to help us in making up our ceremony from the church to the hotel reception  –   Then states in the next email – we are having two locations for the wedding in the same area, that is from the church to the reception…The city where the wedding ceremony/reception is taking place is Kaneohe, HI  When couples inquire, they never ask for a wedding/party photographer.  Who wants a party photographer at their wedding right?   Then Tabitha says that they are having two locations for the ceremony and reception, and that the reception is at a hotel, and that both are in Kaneohe, HI.   Well, no local ever addresses their hometown by county and state.  Further more, there are no hotels in Kaneohe. Absolutely none.

The email is a step in a Nigerian email scam known as a 419, and it’s nothing new.  It consist of the scammer sending his victim a rather large check.   The scammer then tells his victim that the money is to be distributed to him and the other wedding vendors.   Then he tells his victim to wire a certain percent back to him (the scammer), to help pay for fees and/or taxes.    The scammers check eventually bounces, but by that time the victim has already wired his money out of the country and it’s gone.

I’ve never fallen for one of these scams as they are quite easy to spot.  But they are getting much better at disguising themselves and that’s kinda scary.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard of a couple of wedding companies who have fallen for his or her scam.

 

Steve Young
I'm self-employed, so I pretty much do everything around here, from photography and video production, to the organization of all of my weddings. As you can see, I'm also the head writer too! If for some reason you can't reach me at my direct line, or my toll free number, feel free to hit me up on my personal cell at (808) 489-7633. Call anytime...well, almost anytime. Don't call on Superbowl Sunday or when the Philadelphia Eagles are playing!
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