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.
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.
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:
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!