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Out-of-town client scam stories?
Old 6th September 2007
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
HockeyMike's Avatar
 

Out-of-town client scam stories?

I run a decently-equipped, "boutique"-sized studio in Vancouver. While I've had a few clients from far-flung places like Manchester and Norway record here while they were in town, I've also received strange emails from people in places like South Africa and Italy wanting to come here specifically to record. These requests all seem to have in common:

• A yahoo email address
• Some sort of management or investor involved
• No good explanation as to why they want spend that much money to come all the way here to my studio

My gut instinct tells me there's something fishy about these requests, since after a few back and forth emails they still refuse to tell me any sort of details about their project, they just want to know our rate so they can book time. I don't have big name recognition in the industry, I don't have super-rare gear or anything, and there are several well-known studios with great reputations in town, so it doesn't make sense why they're contacting me. I don't give them a rate, and when I tell them I'm booked for the next few months (which is usually true) I never hear from them again.

Do any of you get requests like this? Is this some variation of the Nigerian scam for our industry? ("yes, we can afford your studio, send us your bank account number so we can deposit the funds right away!") Or maybe they have a local associate that comes over pretending to be them and rips off the studio? Any horror stories, personal or second-hand, that anyone wants to share?

Thanks,
Michael
Old 6th September 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
poncival's Avatar
We have gotten these messages too, nothing has ever come of them, but they sure do seem like the old "we will send you $20,000 to your bank account if you just send us the number" type of deal. Although like you say, when we try to actually discuss their plans and rates etc. they back off or stop replying altogether.
Old 6th September 2007
  #3


There's a lot of scams that go like that.

The end play is usually a fake check for more than your rate with the remainder earmarked for another purpose. You are expected to take that extra and wire it somewhere or write a check to someone locally.

When the phony check is discovered, the bank wants their money back, but you're left holding the bag on whatever you paid out to someone else (who will not be who they seem).

Or so I've read......




-tINY

Old 6th September 2007
  #4
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thesteve's Avatar
I have noticed that the people are never thorough enough to make sure that the e-mail address matches their name. I just got one from a guy who claimed he was Italian, named Sergio, but the e-mail address was from a guy named Mark, and the address was .uk
Old 6th September 2007
  #5
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davet's Avatar
 

A local graphic artist was recently ripped off by some Nigerians. They offered to buy three of her paintings for $5000.00. They sent her a check which she deposited. Then they said they couldn't really afford all three and would she kindly refund $3500.00. After her bank assured her the funds were good, she did. The check turned out to be bogus. Not sure what the bank did about it.

A similar scenario could apply to you. We’ll book time, here’s the check. Oh sorry, death in the family can’t make the session. Please keep X$ for your trouble, refund this much.
Old 6th September 2007
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
HockeyMike's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteve View Post
I have noticed that the people are never thorough enough to make sure that the e-mail address matches their name. I just got one from a guy who claimed he was Italian, named Sergio, but the e-mail address was from a guy named Mark, and the address was .uk
Yes! My latest one is from a guy named Nelson in Italy, but the email is a totally different name...but it is at least yahoo.it.
Old 6th September 2007
  #7
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travisbrown's Avatar
My wife owns a clothing store (in Vancouver, incidentally). She got a few emails from a while ago asking about making a very specific and large order to be shipped to Nigeria.

Wasn't mass spam - they knew what she carried and where she was.
Old 6th September 2007
  #8
Gear Addict
 
AdAudioInc's Avatar
 

My standard reply to these (inspired by Mrs. Manley):

I am most please that you have come forth to purchase of my studio time good friend. The cost to you will be only $1,345,876.34 American. Kindly and in good time send this full amount to me with haste. It is then that I will contact you with instructions on how to do it with your wife. fuuck

Go to Manley's web site and search for Evana's replies to the scammers - you'll laugh your ass off.
Old 7th September 2007
  #9
Gear Addict
 
samwinston123's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by davet View Post
A local graphic artist was recently ripped off by some Nigerians. They offered to buy three of her paintings for $5000.00. They sent her a check which she deposited. Then they said they couldn't really afford all three and would she kindly refund $3500.00. After her bank assured her the funds were good, she did. The check turned out to be bogus. Not sure what the bank did about it.

A similar scenario could apply to you. We’ll book time, here’s the check. Oh sorry, death in the family can’t make the session. Please keep X$ for your trouble, refund this much.

I once got sent a fake Money Order for a Powerbook I sold on eBay. Another seller alerted me to the possibility of it being fake (the person had purchased 4 other powerbooks) after I had already deposited it. I called my bank and asked if it was fake or not, and they assured me that it was good. I still didn't send the computer, and then about 5 days later the check showed up on my account as returned. This is why I only accept Paypal anymore, and I find it funny when people think they are being more secure by requesting MO's or cashiers checks.
Old 7th September 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 
DontLetMeDrown's Avatar
 

I never deposit checks into my bank account. I will go to the bank that issued the check and CA$H it. Then I deposit the cash into my account. This way if the check is ends up being bad, the bank will get dinged instead of me. Bounced checks have really F-d me up in the past.
Old 7th September 2007
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyMike View Post
I run a decently-equipped, "boutique"-sized studio in Vancouver. While I've had a few clients from far-flung places like Manchester and Norway record here while they were in town, I've also received strange emails from people in places like South Africa and Italy wanting to come here specifically to record. These requests all seem to have in common:

• A yahoo email address
• Some sort of management or investor involved
• No good explanation as to why they want spend that much money to come all the way here to my studio

My gut instinct tells me there's something fishy about these requests, since after a few back and forth emails they still refuse to tell me any sort of details about their project, they just want to know our rate so they can book time. I don't have big name recognition in the industry, I don't have super-rare gear or anything, and there are several well-known studios with great reputations in town, so it doesn't make sense why they're contacting me. I don't give them a rate, and when I tell them I'm booked for the next few months (which is usually true) I never hear from them again.

Do any of you get requests like this? Is this some variation of the Nigerian scam for our industry? ("yes, we can afford your studio, send us your bank account number so we can deposit the funds right away!") Or maybe they have a local associate that comes over pretending to be them and rips off the studio? Any horror stories, personal or second-hand, that anyone wants to share?

Thanks,
Michael
I get things like that all the time, local too. i think some people amke calls as part of a daydream and arent' really being honst with themselves about their ability to follow through.

I had one guy recently who claimed he was signed to Jive. He booked time. I confirmed with him the night before. When he was late, i called him na he said he was waiting for the singer who he was pikcing up after she come into the city by public transprotation and that he'd be there shortly. He told me he'd call if there was any problem. Luckily for me, I was pretty sure he was full of **** from the first call, so I had a back up plan in place. In the end, he never showed and never called and wouldn't return any calls.

I called him back a month later after he'd long forgotten, and cursed him out. It didn't accomplish anything other than allowing me to vent.
Old 7th September 2007
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by samwinston123 View Post
I once got sent a fake Money Order for a Powerbook I sold on eBay. Another seller alerted me to the possibility of it being fake (the person had purchased 4 other powerbooks) after I had already deposited it. I called my bank and asked if it was fake or not, and they assured me that it was good. I still didn't send the computer, and then about 5 days later the check showed up on my account as returned. This is why I only accept Paypal anymore, and I find it funny when people think they are being more secure by requesting MO's or cashiers checks.

YOU ARE NOT PROTECTED BY PAYPAL... Sold a Macbook in July 2005 to a person that said they were american Stationed in the Philippines . The Funds transfered no problem . waited 5 more days sent it ... 30 days later there was a charge back for the entire amount . We provided Paypal with Tracking/ Shipping information. email Correspondence etc ... The Rep said they were on my side in the charge back .. We LOST $800 no final statement why the judgement was not in support of us. NOTHING ... Seller beware on paypal. the purchaser has almost all the power especially for any package sent out of the country.
Old 7th September 2007
  #13
Gear Nut
 

At a studio i used to work at someone contacted us wanting to come over from england. but she didnt want to record. she wanted to pay money just to hang out and learn. it made no sense and no one could convince her to spend the money on recording. when she got here she did nothing but ask very personal questions on how the business was run and where money was going. she spent a whole week just hanging out. she never even sang for us. it turns out someone we worked with was under investigation for drug trafficing and it was an undercover trying to get info, not a singer from engalnd. not quite the same scam but still pretty shady.

Last edited by buddha fingers; 7th September 2007 at 03:24 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 7th September 2007
  #14
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran kelly View Post
YOU ARE NOT PROTECTED BY PAYPAL... Sold a Macbook in July 2005 to a person that said they were american Stationed in the Philippines . The Funds transfered no problem . waited 5 more days sent it ... 30 days later there was a charge back for the entire amount . We provided Paypal with Tracking/ Shipping information. email Correspondence etc ... The Rep said they were on my side in the charge back .. We LOST $800 no final statement why the judgement was not in support of us. NOTHING ... Seller beware on paypal. the purchaser has almost all the power especially for any package sent out of the country.
I wouldn't send too many notebooks to American soldiers stationed in the Philippines if I were you. The US closed it's last base there in 1992.
Old 7th September 2007
  #15
Lives for gear
 
cebolao's Avatar
 

we had a different adventure with CAMEROON "artists"

they emailed the studio and wanted to rent it for a week to produce a hiphop album. they sent demo mp3's. they even payed in advance!

and yes, they came to poland. of course it's not easy for them to get to europe - they need visas, and a lot of bureaucratic papers to cross the border.

so the studio manager had to write a paper to polish "border guards" (sorry, don't know the correct english word for this guys at the airport checking your passport and visas) and to police, saying that they are invited to the studio, they paid for it etc.

they landed, they went to hotel. we were supposed to start working on the next day. i googled for cameroon, learning a little about this country and came to studio.

we've been waiting for about three hours for them, then we called the hotel and we've been told that they made few calls and a car came and took them. they even left their passports at the hotel! then the police officer came to studio and we had to explain everything to him.

so they just wanted to cross the border! to get into europe!

i wish them luck.

few months later the studio manager received an email from them - they apologised for problems, explained their situation and asked if the manager had problems with police. they are somewhere in europe now, happy, working illegally, probably with the new IDs.
Old 7th September 2007
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Using U.S. postal money orders is one of the safest ways to exchange money. They have security features like a $100 bill (hard to conterfeit), they are as good as cash (just go to the nearest post office with ID to cash them), and the scammers don't mess with them as they face Federal charges (they will actually prosecute wire fraud). I won't bid on expensive stuff if payment is by paypal only (too easy to get ripped off by the seller). So the lessen here is if you are a seller, accept U.S. postal money orders (you will probably have more legit bidders) and if you are a buyer, use U.S. postal money orders with a legally restictive endorsement on the back ("Payment in Full for xxxx" then seller must sign their name under that to cash, which makes it even easier for Federal prosecution of wire fraud). For all you non U.S. slutz I hope you have other options that offer protection, lots of bad guys out there.
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