Our industry is now being specifically targeted by con artists and scammers.
A couple of the main cons they are hitting us with is laundering money and passing counterfeit checks.
What they try to do is get you to work with them as an intermediary, telling you some variation of a convoluted scheme involving “their client” being “interested in working with you” and ultimately wanting you to receive money on their behalf where you keep a share and send the rest to them, or you getting paid for both of them, but handling the funds through your account only, and sending the rest to them.
One who has been especially prolific is Todd Mayer, supposedly from the U.K.
I’m sure that’s not his real name, of course, and more than likely it’s actually a ring of con artists rather than one person.
Once “Todd” realizes we’ve all got his number, he, she or they will probably change it to something new (just like he’s now started putting an address in his emails after people weren’t biting because they had no way of verifying if he was really who he says he is. (Whether it was real or not is another story, but when people see an address, they automatically assume the business is credible, which is a mistake, but it happens nonetheless).
Anyway, “Todd” has been a very busy little beaver writing to all of us.
New people in the industry are especially vulnerable because they often are so desperate for clients they will jump at anything, and several have fallen victim to this con because of it.
But “Todd” obviously doesn’t realize just how small of a world our industry is, and how much we all compare notes.
If you receive any variation of this type of email from anyone, steer clear:
“Hello, my name is Todd Mayer. I run a consultancy firm here with registered address 6353 Cronin Street, SE15 6JJ. A client of mine who is due to arrive in the United States in few weeks time is interested in your virtual services. Can you tell me a little more about your mode of operation? If interested, please reply. Thanks, Todd Mayer”
See how he’s getting a bit more sophisticated in his con?
Colleagues weren’t biting because they are getting savvy to these cons. So now he’s trying to figure out how we operate so that he can devise his scam to fit into that pattern, basically to get better at tricking us into accepting counterfeit checks, cashing them and then sending him money.
He’ll be long-gone by the time your bank alerts you that the check you just cashed was counterfeit, and you’ll be stuck paying for not only the check, but also any bounced check fees that begin racking up. That’s how these con artists scam you.
So be smart.
Don’t let $$ signs cloud your judgment. This is how these cons get away with so much — by using people’s greed or desperation against them.
If something is too good/too easy to be true, it usually isn’t.
- HAVE a proper client consultation and vetting process.
- DO your homework and due diligence, and verify who and what a client is before you ever work with them. (Examples: Do they have a business website? Is there contact information easily found on it? Have you verified the address and phone number? What state do they operate out of? Are they sole proprietor or incorporated? Are they registered with their state? Do they have a business license? Have you Googled their name and the name of their business to check for complaints or anything else that’s questionable?)
- NEVER let prospective clients rush your process (these are in place for their benefit as well as yours).
- NEVER act as an intermediary or “middleman” when it comes to money. No legitimate business will ever need you to accept monies on their behalf, and in fact, it’s considered money laundering which will get YOU into hot water with the law.
- BE selective about who you work with.
- ALWAYS stick to your standards and policies.