Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Repost -- Scam (skām): A fraudulent business scheme

I originally posted this entry a year and a half ago and it continues to be one of the most popular...tons of views, 77 comments, etc.  And since I STILL get emails from these "prospective clients," I figured re-posting wouldn't be such a bad idea. Be careful.

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Yesterday, I received my first wedding scam attempt (guess my latest marketing and advertising efforts are starting to work). I received an email from an "Irish" bride-to-be whose fiance was offered a job in the U.S. and needed help planning a small wedding in New Jersey. I vaguely remembered hearing of certain swindle attempts on wedding vendors (especially photographers and videographers), so my radar peaked immediately, however, I didn't jump to any conclusions right away. I responded to the email, drew up a preliminary proposal, quoted cost of service and submitted an invoice for payment. Nonetheless, when it became apparent that the bride-to-be and her French fiance only intended on mailing a cashier's check, I knew right away what I was dealing with ... a scam! I happen to know that international cashier's checks are not fully validated for 90 days. So even though the check may clear at first, if found to be phony, the money is later deducted.

I must say, it's very sad that so many take time out to scam innocent people and it's even sadder that so many fall victim and lose thousands of dollars. The email I received even toted a closing salutation of "God Bless." Just heartless.

Finally, I had hoped that this was an isolated situation, but low-and-behold, I received a similar request again TODAY ... this time from the U.K. (sigh)

Here's a copy of the original email (below). Wedding vendors, take note.

My name is Serena Jones, from Rathmines, Ireland (Europe ). I will be coming over to New Jersey with my Husband Virgile Raymond who's French by nature but has actually naturalised in Ireland.

We'll be moving to the US to start a new life because my husband to be just got a job with the Coca-cola Co. in NJ and i have made plans of opening my new kiddies fashion store in NJ as soon as we are settled in. Just before then we will be getting married on the 19th of April, 2008 and we have decided to get married in THE STATES since we're moving on and we pretty know our new move would be wonderful. We will be needin' a good wedding planner to take care of our wedding event both ceremony and reception for our guests and our convenience because we require the best for the best memories for our children in future and as a matter of fact we have made a good budget for the best on our wedding day.

We prefer the ceremony and reception event to take place in a location and we are expecting at most 60 guests on the day of our occasion because most of our families in Europe and in the United Kingdom will be present for this wonderful occassion. Also, we would like you to know we prefer the reception and ceremony to take place in a location for the convenience of our guests and would love the ceremony to be in a garden setting and the reception in an indoor location in Matinsville, NJ or surrounding areas because the weather is unpredictable at this time of the year. We haven't made any venue reservations yet but we are sure the wedding planner can do that on our behalf as we are looking for a customized wedding planning package that involves virtually every aspect of planning except the band which we are already making arrangements for. The total wedding budget is 25,000$US. Please let us know if you can help work with us for the success of our event and can help work within our budget as we're not opened to spending a dollar more than the above bidget?

Hope you're enjoying a blissful weekend!
Thanks and God bless,

Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, The Bridal Party


ONADA Photography said...

This is a great post - everyone should be aware of this type of scam. I've gotten similar emails in the past as well.

cHill Weddings, LLC said...

Those are annoying... I get an email like that once every 3 months or so. I've also been getting them through theknot inquiries, which is very disturbing. I feel bad for the one couple that are from Ireland and France that really are planning a wedding it gets ruined by all these scams...

Thanks to blogging about it!

Denver Wedding Photographers said...

Being new to the industry, I would be happy to get any inquiries! Thanks for the heads up!

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