Kent's Blog

Feb 19, 2018 – Scams

Took today off from practicing (a holiday, yes). I received the following text:

Scammer: Good day! my name is (redacted), Wanna schedule voice lesson for my family. Kindly be flexible with your availability and pricing, also let me know form of payment you accept

OK. The New Von Trapps want a bargain and Dad can’t spell.

I get about one of these a month in my email (which I immediately delete), but this is the first time I have a potential live phishing scam via text. I show my son and explain phishing. He gets it.

But, hey, we’re in real time. Might poke the tiger and see what happens next. After all, they haven’t played the payment method scam yet, or captured my voice saying “Yes.”

Kent Baker: Looks like you are in Pennsylvania. I am in Vermont. Payment is typically cash or check. Ages? Experience? One-off or moving forward? Half hour or hour each? Looking forward to hearing from you.

S: Thanks for the sharp response. I will like to know the coaching for 5 ladies in my family, so I want you to get back to me with total estimate for 2 times in a week 5 (Females) for 8 weeks and I want the session to be 1-3 hrs, so I will like to know the total cost for the service asap..

Poor guy must have 3 bathrooms. If I ask a few more questions, I’ll know for sure that this is a scam. Lessons twice a week is a red flag. My questions aren’t being answered.

KB: 2x weekly, half hour each? Ages? Years singing? Repertoire? Would need more information and perhaps an initial lesson. Please email any to (redacted) – many thanks.

S: OK basically I’m currently in the hospital right now due to my health issue and I’ve been advice to stay off internet and cell phone am just contacting you now cause I want to secure this appointment for my family as a surprise to console them and keep them busy while I am undergoing my surgery so I hope you can handle them very well??

Contradictions galore. Singing their blues away.

KB: Certainly. Where are you located? And how were you referred to me?

S: are you familiar with Pittsford VT?

Now, that’s not far from here, with many houses rented to skiers. Plausible, barely.

KB: Yes

S: sincerely was searching within my area before I found you

Hmmm….

KB: And they are in Pittsford?

S: Yes. Kindly let me know what your total cost for 16 lesson?

And the dance continues. 5 young ladies, ages 29 to 19, with names. (Nope.) And he calls me. Poor connection, likely overseas.

Then more texts. Finally the scam: can only pay by credit card and must be by my bank merchant. Even gives me instructions for mobile phone setup after I initially decline. I again decline, and he is done.

Scammer gets a B+ for creativity and a D for mechanics.

Bottom line – trust your intuition. And if you don’t have a studio policy, create one. I need to post mine to my Web site, including payment methods (which I discussed up front) – which should mitigate most scams.

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