Back in August, I received an email that I did not give much thought to. It stated:

“This is JONES WILLIAMS, am hearing impaired, i will like to know if you are available for martial art training and exercise services and do you accept credit card for payment kindly get back to me as soon as possible.

Regards,
JONES”

I responded that I do not accept credit card payments and that he was welcome to observe my classes at the Legends Community Centre in Oshawa. I never heard back from this Jones Williams. I do remember thinking that this was an odd email due to the grammar and the inquiry regarding credit card payment.

I did not give this much thought until I heard from a good friend of mine, Terence, yesterday who wanted me to check out an email that he had received. The email he received stated:

“This is Jones Carly, am hearing impaired, i will like to know if you are available for martial art training and exercise services and do you accept credit card for payment kindly get back to me as soon as possible.

Regards,
Carly”

He later told Terence:

“Thanks for the prompt response, Am not around at the moment, Am out of the city for business purpose but i have a driver that will bring them in after i have sorted out the bills and all other necessary things with you, I want to make an appointment for Martial art training exercise service for my family.I want you to get back to me with the total estimate for 2 month private training for 5 people 3(Female) aged (15, 17 and 21)and 2(Male) aged (16 and 20) for 2 months 2hr daily 3 times a week, like i said earlier that they will be coming with a private transportation driver for the service. I will be expecting your reply with the total cost and your full name,address and direction for the private transport to locate your place when they are coming for the service.”

Terence had suspected that there was something fishy about this but needed confirmation. I told him that I had received a similar email back in August and that this confirmed my suspicions. This is an outright martial arts email scam.

Thinking that this was a Toronto phenomenon, I posted this on Facebook with a warning to the Greater Toronto Area martial arts school owners/instructors. I found out quickly that this is likely an international scam. One of my Facebook friends indicated that a friend of his had recently posted about this and noted:

“It’s a scam. He’ll overpay on the credit card and ask you to give him or a confederate the overage in cash. Of course, the credit card is later found to have been stolen.”

A martial arts friend in Texas confirmed that she had received a similar e-mail. A little digging around revealed this well-written blog post about this scam:

http://whitedragondojang.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/martial-arts-teachers-must-beware-of-scams-from-pretend-future-students/

The above post was written in June of this year. This entry does an excellent job in explaining that this is a variation on the “Advanced Payment” Scam and details how the perpetrator makes money out of this scam.

I’ve known quite a few martial arts school owners who struggle with their school business or teeter on the financial cliff. They may be prone to the temptation of making a quick buck to save their business. This may make them prone to falling for this scam to their detriment.

Be warned.  Ask for cash payment up front and insist on meeting them in person to “pre-screen” them.  Always protect yourself.

Pass this on!

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14 thoughts on “Martial Arts Email Scam

  • December 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm
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    I am getting text messages now from a Jones Carley. They say they are hearing impared. They want party favors. I do catering and event planning. This person wants party favors lastunite and says someone will pick them up. It’s from an 386 area code. Could this be the same scam?

    Reply
    • December 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm
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      Very likely the same scam. From what I found out, they do it through credit card fraud and non-existent bank accounts. I received an email using the same name and same line (“hearing impaired.”) Feel free to pass this post around.

      Reply
  • February 11, 2015 at 3:48 pm
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    I just got one. Sent a polite reply as I would to anyone else, but will not look to do any business with them…Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm
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    Hey guys – same here. These came from “Emily Freeman”. Spread the word!

    Email # 1: Good Day, My name’s Emily freeman, Do you teach Martial Arts and Full Body Exercises ? I will like to Enroll my Family in your school also do you accept credit cards as a mode of payment? i want you to understand that I’m currently in the hospital receiving treatment regarding this i just had an ear surgery and I have been advised to stay off the phone till I’m fully recovered that is why i am contacting you via email for now, Please get back to me via email Asap.

    Email #2: I want to make an appointment for Martial Art Training and full body exercise service for my family. So Please get get back to me with the total estimate for a 2 months Private Training for 3 people 2 Female (Joni & Ofelia) Age (14 and 20)and 1 Male ( James) Age (18) . They will attend your Martial Arts Training for a Period of 2 months 2 hours daily 2 times a week. Also want you to know that they will be coming with a private transportation driver for the service. Regarding this I will be expecting your reply with the total estimate…. Also get back to me with the below details….
    Owner’s/Manager’s Name :
    Cell Phone # (So i can text you) :
    Type of credit Card Accepted :
    Full Shop Address :, for the private transport to locate your facility when they are coming for the Training .

    Email #3: I’m very much satisfied with the total estimate, quite affordable.Here’s an exclusive just to show some seriousness and dedication.I am willing to pay up the sum of $1000 as an upfront payment so that you can secure the appointment for us.The Training will commence starting from the 26th of feb 2015 .

    Reply
    • February 23, 2015 at 3:51 pm
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      These scams pop on a regular basis. Good that you caught onto this. Feel free to spread my blog post and your experiences so that others don’t fall victim to this!

      Reply
  • March 20, 2015 at 4:09 pm
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! I just got a text from Jones Williams, hearing impaired. He wanted to hire me to build a web site for him and his agricultural export business. Something just didn’t sit right with me, and now I know why! So glad I listen to my gut.

    The number he texted from was a California number and he told me he and his company were in Tennessee.

    He went on and on about how much money he had to spend and the timeframe he wanted his site in, as well as asking me if I take credit cards.

    One of the things that tipped me off, as I have a degree in American Sign language, is that the Deaf and hard of hearing community DO NOT offer information about their hearing unless asked. None of my Deaf or HoH friends would ever introduce themselves that way by text to someone they have never met.

    As a newer business owner, I was excited that someone “found me in a Google Business search” and wanted a web site built for their new company. SO glad I looked into it first. When I asked him for a link to his Facebook or LinkedIn, or somewhere I could see his pic to get a vibe of who I was working with, I got no response at all.

    I will be reporting this to the BBB, and whoever I can who deals with these types of scams. I will also be sharing your blog and this post on my Facebook.

    Again, THANK YOU for putting this out there and saving me a ton of hassle from this scammer!

    J. Micallef

    Reply
    • March 20, 2015 at 4:13 pm
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      Share my blog post around if you want to!

      I found his initial email to myself to be quite odd and you know the rest of the story in my post! Being severely hearing impaired myself, that introduction was a tip off as well. You are welcome and nice to meet you!

      Reply
      • March 20, 2015 at 4:31 pm
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        Nice to meet you too! 🙂

        Reply
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  • July 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm
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    Just received an email transaction from “Jones Williams” as well. As a dog boarding service, they were wanting to board an absurd amount of dogs at one time. At first the con artist claimed to have cancer, then claimed to be hearing impaired, thus could not communicate by phone. They wanted to only communicate through phone text, which was not an option. When accused of phishing, email correspondence ended abruptly.

    Criminals, like leopards, apparently never change their spots. Or email scams for that matter.

    Reply
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  • May 20, 2017 at 12:06 pm
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    And, two years later, this scam is still around.

    I’d like to give a couple of bits of advice to anyone tempted by this kind of thing. First off, never give money back from a check or credit card transaction. Just make it a school or business policy. The vast majority of people wouldn’t even ask for this, so it should never be an issue. For those who do ask for this, simply refuse the payment and insist on a correct amount.

    This way, even if this person were to show up, learn a bit, then have the payment bounce, the only thing you’ll be out is some time. (For businesses that are selling goods, of course you’ll want to be cautious about letting material go out the door with a questionable customer…)

    Reply

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