When I googled the words “photography scam” what I expected to pop up in the search results is the Photo Stealers website. It’s website dedicated to outing “photographers” who are caught red handed stealing hard working real photographers work and claiming it as their own. It’s a great site that catches people trying to pass themselves off as real professional photographers misleading those who are simply looking to hire a real photographer.
What is more alarming is what really pops up in the results…..countless examples of a scammer looking to hire a photographer to cover their event. The event is usually a family reunion shoot or a wedding. The scammer as expected has very poor grammar skills and usually cuts right to the real question of “do you accept credit cards?” I personally have been on the receiving end of this scam twice via text message. I’ve heard other reports of this scam happening over email too. Usually a real photo client will reach out by email so a random text message as their choice of correspondence is somewhat of a red flag to begin with.
The 1st time I got the scam I just blew it off. The second time I got this scam I trolled the scammer a bit for info to see if they would slip up. This time I decided to troll the scammer hard….making up outlandish stories that would send any real client running far far away from any consideration of hiring me. The initial idea was to see just how long I could keep the outlandish stories going. I had plenty of them lined up by the second day. At the third day I thought the scammer had caught onto my trolling, but somehow I reeled them back in for a bit more fun. The ending of this isn’t as grand as I had originally intended….but the process was a blast. Originally I documented the events as they unfolded on my personal Face Book page that I keep for friends only. I often polled my friends who were following along giving choices of which way the story should go. Many suggested they wanted the story to be public so they could show friends. For your enjoyment at many requests I present to you 3 days of crazy fun trolling the scammer in an effort to give them less time to bait someone else who might become a victim.
Carolina “the scammer” in yellow chat box.
Me “the photographer” in the blue chat box.
DISCLAIMER! I have never been in trouble with the law and certainly have never been on parole. My dear grandmother passed away 20+ years ago. No dogs were harmed in the process….just pics taken from the internet or borrowed from friends.
On with the show! Enjoy!
Notice Carolina asks immediately if I accept credit cards!
She really needs to know if I accept credit cards!
Instead of answering the credit card question I figured I better find out if I’m even available first!
I already know I’ll be booked….but the birthday party is a week and a half away….let see if they will move it to a later time or maybe even another date. How much of a problem could it be to let all the guest know on short notice that the party date is changing and the birthday girl can wait a week right?
Yeah! Fine! She’ll move her daughters birthday party just for me! 99% sure this is a scam at this point. Time to play ball! Introducing grandma!
Grandma’s drinking problem was my smoke signal to the scammer that they should just go away….but instead they really want to know what credit cards I accept….so yeah….JC Penny and Home Depot to name a few.
Turns out that is an actual address….so I googled it! Turns out it’s the address to the American Legion, Dept. of Florida seen below. The have a banquet room that they do rent out. I’ve also included a screen shot of their rates from the PDF on their website. I also called their events coordinator to see if they accepted credit cards…and they do…..because I know what is coming next. The scammer is going to tell me the venue doesn’t accept credit cards.
I also figured Grandma needed a job too! So yeah….she’ll be the janitor!
Boom….the scam is revealed. Told ya!
They mentioned they would include $100 for tips. Since it seems that every photographer…especially the rock stars, are now selling “their secrets to success” to the oversaturated masses with cameras instead of shooting these days…why don’t I join them and sell some photography tips of my own.
Introducing the dog! I just needed an excuse to not answer the constant barrage of impatient texting….but this is going to be a story plot that goes somewhere!
Uh-oh! Blood everywhere you say?
See what common core math has done….people can’t do simple math any longer!
Nice to know that Carolina the scammer has a heart!
After the Hello I polled my Face Book friends if I should respond with Lionel Richie or Adel lyrics. A lame attempt to give the scammer a “ear worm” for the rest of the day. She didn’t catch on….and you’ll see why soon. I’m also going somewhere with the age thing. She should really start looking for someone else to photograph the birthday event.
Great! She thinks the dog name is Lionel. Darn it! I had a really cool name lined up for the dog but fine….I’ll go with Lionel. But I don’t like it!
Midnight and this crazy woman is still texting me? On to day #2…
Still can’t add either!
Don’t you tell me it won’t be a problem! That’s borderline rude!
I need a way to tell the scammer how dumb they sound…
No…I don’t understand….and you need a dose of reality!
Antoine Dodson for the win! He’s always there when you need to make a point!
Quit buggin me……I need a break! Parole officer to the rescue!
I haven’t sent an invoice or contract…and don’t intend to. Just giving the scammer something to look for.
Still can’t add….and my email address is on my website….duh!
Granny and her wiley ways!
Wasn’t expecting she would find granny “sexy” and what a unappreciative jerk! Guess the $1000 discount throws a wrench in the scammers plans.
Who wouldn’t want that discount! Really?
Again…I need a break….so power failure it is! It’s Florida after all.
On to day #3…
5:00 am text….wonder what she does for a living?
Two can play at the impatient texting game!
It’s really hard to find great customer service these days!
Whew….thought I had lost the scammer for a second there. So figured I would really mess up the plan by thanking him for the make believe payment.
Riiiight! Send you the transaction receipt…..so you can have banking info….don’t think so!
Time to just end this….I could do day #4 but I’ve had enough!
I had all sorts of stories lined up and ready to go to take this as far as the scammer could stand. Maybe I’ll use those on the next scammer who decides to text me.
Hope you had a good laugh!