Look’s like the old Overpayment scam is working its way into the events industry.
We are grateful to reader Cindy-Michelle Waterfield of iwantaspeaker.com for her update of how it is being operated, and how the old adage that “If it’s too good to be true it probably is” is such a good and true one.
For event organisers it has started with an email from a “film company” (Stoneway Films is one name the scammers have used, but there’ll be lots of others) claiming to want to organise a public showing of a film they’ve made. After getting a quote they direct the unsuspecting organiser to a “speaker agency” ( Walsh Talent and Management, the scammers again) they want used and then send a large cheque, or make a direct payment to the organiser’s bank covering the fee charged and the cost of the speakers, asking the organiser to pay the speaker agency from the funds sent, and keep the balance.. Those who do on the basis that they can see the money in their account, and in most cases the amounts are £20,000+, then find that the cheque is dud/stolen, or the payment doesn’t go through, and the film company and speaker agency don’t exist. The scammers have exploited the few days it takes the banks to find out the large payment is fraudulent.
The same scam is being worked on photographers and film-makers offered a lucrative contract to photograph or film an event. This one is termed the Dubai Overpayment Scam as the emails setting it up have come from an “event organiser” in Dubai called Max Events (etc, etc) and a contact called Ali Farid (or Abdul Kazari, or Mustapha Sukka, etc, etc) And wedding planners report the scam from a “John Frederick” for his wedding. Anyone advertising an expensive item for sale can also be caught with this, as a man selling a motorbike was a few years back when he was sent a (dud) cheque to cover the cost of the bike and the shipping costs to send it abroad and asked to pay the difference to the “shippers” (scammers), which, sadly, he did.
The only way to curb this is to make sure that everyone knows how the fraud works, so that they can be on their guard and not get hurt. Remember the Nigerian 419 Advance Payment scam whereby someone in Nigeria was said to be looking to launder millions through someone’s bank account, and pay the lucky person selected a fat fee, also millions, for the service? Those caught by their own greed were then soaked for lots of thousands for “smoothing the deal along”, and/or had their bank accounts cleared by the Nigerians.
Apparently a few people every year still get conned with this one .Remember, when it’s too good to be true KNOWLEDGE IS ALL.