How I Avoided Getting Taken by Scammers
A few weeks back someone reached out to me on Linkedin and said they saw my images on my website and thought I would be perfect choice for a NYC fashion photo shoot. He said I should email a “John Margiela” and he would give me the details. I thought it weird since I don’t have any professional photos on my website, but I Instagram NYC photos all the time so I thought maybe it’s true.
I contacted John M and he offered to hire me right away and said he would send me a check for payment in full in advance for the shoot. I was in total charge of the shoot and the models and the company’s (who the shoot was for) rep would contact me and I would set the time and location with them. He even specified the number of images requested, resolution and ownership of the images.
…when it sounds too good to be true…
When I said I needed a contract he was somewhat evasive and when I asked to speak on the phone, he ignored my request. I got an email from him saying the check was sent and he asked me to immediately send a part of the money to the models and their rep. A new person, a woman, who claimed to be the model emailed me and asked for partial payment transferred to their bank account as soon as I got the check,
…c’mon scammers, I ran a consumer electronics store and company for 30 years. You gotta do better than that…
A Pikes’ Bank “Cashier’s Check” for $5800 soon arrived at my PO Box (not giving them my real address, duh), I reached out to Pikes and they confirmed the check was bad. It’s under investigation, but know, these kinds of folks are hard to find and catch.
So, this message is a warning to all business owners, especially solopreneurs: there are bad people out there and they are always coming up with new ways to take you. Don’t let your desire to make a sale cloud your judgement. If it comes too easy or sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.