I hate to say it but I was almost taken in by an Internet scam. It started like this, I got an email forwarded to me from a VERY reputable source. The first email is as follows (this is the actual text):
I'm preparing for my wedding which is going on ( 21th of April 2007 ) and i will need your service for entertament of guess So i will want you to get back to me with your charges, and where u are located.
waiting to read back from you as soon as possible.
So I am thinking I have a possible gig here. I email the person back and they get back to me in a couple of days saying they want to hire me. So again I am thinking, "Great." I send them my info including the info for a couple of duos I play in and they send me this:
Thanks for accepting to do me a great honor on my wedding day..I have no doubt its goin to be a memorable day for me..u know its the joy of every woman..u wont belive how long have been longing to witness that day and honestly i can wait...Smith has agreed to mail the payment of $4500 so that you can be able to deduct your fund of $500 and send the remaining $3500 to our event organizer in state.
I will want you to get back to me with your info.
1. YOUR NAME THAT WILL BE ON THE CHECK.
2. YOUR CONTACT ADRESS WHERE THE CHECK WILL BE MAIL TOO.
3. YOUR CONTACT MOBILE PHONE NUMBER FOR COMMUNICATION.
Waiting to read back from you asap.
I'm mailing with my husband box
So I email them back with my info and waiting to hear back from them. My duo partner Chicago guitarist Matt Rutherford starts talking to me about this gig and we look at the emails together. He notices some similarities with a guitar lesson scam that he almost fell for a year ago. The funny thing is I was the one who told him it was a scam then...
Anyway, they sent me another email with information about the address where the wedding will take place. It turns out it is a real event hall, and a well known one at that. They even put a link in the email to the hall's website. So Matt tells me that he thinks it is a scam and points out several similarities with other scams. So we call the event hall and on the supposed day of the wedding, they are having a fundraiser and no wedding. They then followed up that email by apologizing that they got the address wrong. I tell you these people were pretty good. Anyway, that phone call was the last straw and when I sent them an email asking for the phone number of their events coordinator so I could send a performance contract, they all of a sudden stopped emailing me. Up until that point they had been getting back to me really quickly.
So this is how the scam works. They get you by "hiring" you for a gig. Then they say they will send you a check with your name on it, the catch is this. They send you a check for much more that your fee. They then ask you to wire the rest of the money to an account. It turns out that the check is fraudulent, but the money you wire to the account is real. So you get nothing, and they get your money. This is a variation of a scam known around the Internet involving among other things Nigerian princes, ex-presidents, French families who want guitar lessons for their son, and wedding photographers. There are many resources on the web that detail similar scams. Just Google "Internet scams" or something like it and you will find plenty of info.