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Topic: Mistake or scam?
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Nov 4, 2015 10:38AM)
I received an e-mail this morning from a man who wants me to perform at his daughter's 18th birthday party. OK, so far so good. Not my usual audience, but I can perform for teenagers easily, and have done that before.

But the scam bells are going off for several reasons.

1. I live in Southern California, he wants me to perform in Ontario Canada.
2. He did not give me a date, but rather a range of dates and the suggestion that I can choose what will work for me.
3. He does not mention money.
4. He does not give contact info, buts asks me to send him my phone number so we can discuss the event.
5. How did a man in Eastern Canada, 3000 mile away get my info?

If he made a mistake, the right thing to do is contact him and explain where I live and guide him to a more appropriate local performer.
If he is running a scam of some kind, I don't want to acknowledge his bull.

Anyone seen stuff like this before or have any ideas?

Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Nov 4, 2015 10:47AM)
Definitely some red flags and reason for concern. sounds like it could have the foundation of a money/payment scam. Proceed cautiously.
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Nov 4, 2015 11:02AM)
An important milestone birthday with no specific date? He's willing to fly in an American magician but hasn't planned anything else concrete enough to require venue contract dates? And no contact info?


Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Nov 4, 2015 11:15AM)
How does he not have your phone number when he has your contact info?

Oh and you can easily perform for teenagers? Good for you!
Message: Posted by: Magic_son (Nov 4, 2015 11:21AM)
Definitely sounds like major red flags... Be careful.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Nov 4, 2015 11:27AM)
On your Café profile, you have link to a website that only displays an email address for you. However, it does not provide the customer with information about your location, nor your phone number. So, if he is a genuine customer (and I'm not saying he is or isn't), how is he to know you're in California just from looking at your website?

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Nov 4, 2015 11:27AM)
Dannydoyle, I have 26 years experience of teaching High School. Teenagers aren't hard to deal with, they are just their own special type of people.

But back to the issue at hand, this e-mail will be erased and not responded to. There is just too much here that makes no sense, and I have no interest in scams.

Thanks for the help guys.
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Nov 4, 2015 11:29AM)
Donald, good point. I will have to think about that one.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Nov 4, 2015 11:35AM)
[quote]On Nov 4, 2015, Cliffg37 wrote:
Donald, good point. I will have to think about that one. [/quote]

Some of us had this conversation with another magician in the past. You have to put your location on your website, so that you can help your customers and help Google. This is SEO 101.


- Donald
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Nov 4, 2015 12:13PM)
I never understood why not giving people as many ways to contact you as possible was not common practice. I am always personally suspicious when there is no contact phone at all.
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Nov 4, 2015 12:34PM)
I can tell you why my phone number is not on the website.

Simple really, I am a classroom teacher. I have been a teacher for 26 years. I am far more than a hobbyist, but I am not a professional magician either. I sit somewhere in between. What I don't want are my students googling me (and they do) and getting my home phone number. If I was more on the professional side, I would have a separate magical phone number and advertise that. I actually toyed with getting one of those magic-Jack phone numbers for $25 a year, or what ever. I may do that one day, for now I am fine.

However... When I send out advertising post cards, or contact schools cold for my shows, I do give them all my contact info.

I think you are right, that a website should offer as much as possible when it comes to making contact, I am just a slightly different story.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Nov 4, 2015 12:49PM)
[quote]On Nov 4, 2015, Dannydoyle wrote:
I never understood why not giving people as many ways to contact you as possible was not common practice. I am always personally suspicious when there is no contact phone at all. [/quote]

I couldn't agree more and that is the problem I have with performers or businesses that only want to use a website or contact form. Any professional or semi-pro should be offering as much information and contact info to make it as easy and convenient as possible to reach you in whichever way they prefer. I can't tell you how many performers submit to us and don't have their phone number in their promo, website or even the cover letter or accompanying e-mail.

Companies like Lead Pages and of course many of the gurus have guys convinced that "hand-off" operations is the way to go and somehow better. I have yet to be convinced of anything even close to this belief anywhere across the board - schools, theaters, kids parties, weddings, banquets, corporate events, resorts, cruise ships, agencies, literally anywhere.

When I see hand-off I immediately see a lazy performer, poor business person or someone, like perhaps cliffg37 that doesn't want to be contacted. I get there are circumstances where this is by design, but these are exceptions to the rules, not typical business operations as today's "automate your business" gurus would like you to believe. I will gladly put my business system and booking system and it's results up against any of these type "systems" or beliefs and assure you tat you will experience more personal relationships, better positioning, higher fees, more conversions, more book backs, more referrals, and more overall business success including many unseen intangibles.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Nov 4, 2015 01:21PM)
I would not say lazy personally.

But I do not like to deal with companies I can not directly contact a person. If I have a customer service issue I want it resolved by a person on the phone not an email.

Obviously this is a service industry we are in. That is just my preference. It is by no means the only way to do things.

But consider the following. When a person had an objection and you are on the phone, you have an opportunity to answer that objection. If you only use email and hands off that objection is automatically converted into a NO. For me this little fact alone is enough of a reason to not worry about all the reasons to not want to talk to people. Again just an opinion and nothing more.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 4, 2015 03:25PM)
Get a Google phone number. It is free

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Nov 4, 2015 06:34PM)
Several people on Facebook got a similar inquiry, about a teen daughter's birthday with a party in Ontario. This is the wording that one performer in Texas rec'd. I wonder if yours is the same?

[quote]Email today: On 11/4/2015 8:39 AM, john wooden wrote:
> Hello,
> My name is john wooden, I am a business man here and also CEO of Sterio Inc, a business here in Toronto, ON Canada. I am contacting to enquire on how to book (performer's name) for a special appearance at my daughter Jane's 18th private birthday party coming up next month. He is a big fan of magic and has mentioned (performer's name) as her idol in this field. The exact date has not been set yet but would be within NOV 25th - NOV 30th, pending your availability, do let me know which day is suitable for you if you are available and also get back at me with details on how to go about making this work as well as what it will cost. The occasion is to take place on my yacht, I will provide you further details on plans; if possible do provide me with a contact phone number if a phone conversation would be necessary. I will be awaiting your urgent response to my inquiry. Thanks.[/quote]

Can't even decide if the daughter is a "he" or "she." There are many things that tip that this is someone trying to catch people with an overpayment scam.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Nov 4, 2015 06:43PM)
The is the very one Donald, and thank you. I now am very comfotable with this be a scam now, and will not be following up. Like I said it rang alarm bells in my head.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Nov 4, 2015 06:50PM)
Jane will be disappointed. You're her idol. lol!

- Donald
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (Nov 4, 2015 08:44PM)
It's an established scam. There's different versions, but the basic idea is once the victim (musician, wedding photographer, magician, etc) agrees to the gig the scammers will send a check for much more than the agreed fee & ask the victim to deposit the check & send the overage to a wedding planner/caterer/whatever. The check will eventually bounce, the "caterer" is one of the scam gang, and there isn't any party.

They leave the date as open as possible to increase the chance that the victim will have a day available, and it's actually to their advantage to hire someone far away from the site of the nonexistent event so the victim doesn't drive by the site & find it's a gas station or whatever.
Message: Posted by: John Martin (Nov 5, 2015 11:06AM)
First a quick Google search would show that there's no company in Toronto by the name of Sterio Inc, first red flag. Secondly, if this is written by the CEO of any company, it's the worst english possible, second red flag. Finally and the most glaring reason that this is a scam, the writer says his 18 year old daughter "is a big fan of magic and has mentioned (performer's name) as her idol in this field". An 18 year old female that's a big fan of magic....maybe. That ANY birthday party magician is their idol......HIGHLY unlikely!!!! LOL

'Magic Idol Happy Hills Retirement Home'
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (Nov 5, 2015 11:55AM)
[quote]On Nov 5, 2015, John Martin wrote:
First a quick Google search would show that there's no company in Toronto by the name of Sterio Inc, first red flag. ' [/quote]

They were kind of hoping nobody would do that ... ;)

Oh, and another thing about the distance thing, the "we heard you're so great" line is designed to appeal to the victim's vanity as well as explain why they aren't asking anyone local.

The first time I came across this scam was on a guitar forum a couple years ago. Some guy was asking about an email he'd received asking him to fly to Abu Dhabi to give guitar lessons to a multimillionaire's daughter. They were gonna send him a check to cover his airfare & everything! Because they'd heard that he was such a great teacher ... The rest of the forum persuaded him to decline the offer.

PS - I guess technically this is a "con" rather than a "scam"?
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Nov 6, 2015 10:43PM)
The scam doesn't involve checks anymore. It's only payment systems.
Message: Posted by: Andrew (Nov 12, 2015 01:20PM)
I was recently contacted (via text) by an "eric lawson" who wanted me to perform for his niece's 1st birthday party.
After trying to gather more information about the party, he asked if I'd also "do him a favor" and allow him to place the cater's fee on my credit card as well, explaining that the caterer wouldn't accept credit cards.
Of course this fired off red flags all over the place and was clearly an "over payment" scam.
A quick Google search of his phone number revealed that he had a history of trying to scam others.

The same eric lawson contacted me the next day to perform for "David" who was 10 years old. Guess he was having trouble keeping track of his "scam clients". :)

Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Nov 12, 2015 01:54PM)
Man, nothing worse than an unorganized scammer.
Message: Posted by: MikeDes (Nov 12, 2015 02:56PM)
Here is what I would do. Agree to do the show for $100,000 and have him make the check out to your company. When you receive the check, frame it and hang it up in your office. :)

Maybe we should have a contest here on the Café and see who can get the biggest amount!

I hope I get this scam email
Message: Posted by: BK_Magician (Nov 14, 2015 11:53PM)
Scams drive me nuts, but when they are this obvious its almost laughable and encourages you to mess with them. Don't forget to report them to the authorities!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Nov 15, 2015 01:04PM)
Which authorities exactly? Plus if they don't actually get the money what crime has been committed?
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Nov 15, 2015 01:32PM)
Which authorities? The MP - the Magic Police
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Nov 18, 2015 06:36PM)
Here are a few phone numbers which have texted me the same offer, over the past few years.

586 888 5410, 702 965 5339, 717 489 7267

Since it's not obvious how to block a text, here is what I've figured out.... Add them as a contact, then you can block all their calls and texts
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Nov 19, 2015 09:52AM)
[quote]On Nov 12, 2015, MikeDes wrote:
Here is what I would do. Agree to do the show for $100,000 and have him make the check out to your company. When you receive the check, frame it and hang it up in your office. :)[/quote]

Now there is an idea that I can get into!
Message: Posted by: cafeinst (Nov 24, 2015 03:09PM)
Andrew, I also recently got contacted by Eric Lawson also through a text message. Exact same story, caterer and all. His niece was David, 10 years old. Very strange. Definitely a scam.

Today, Stevn Clark contacted me wanting a birthday party for his baby niece. (The spelling error of Steven was his.)
Message: Posted by: Andrew (Dec 9, 2015 01:11PM)

I wonder if anyone has ever fallen for this routine. Whoever is behind the "eric lawson" scams must not be very bright...or there are more who are unaware than I realize!

Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Dec 11, 2015 08:25PM)
[quote]On Dec 9, 2015, Andrew wrote:

I wonder if anyone has ever fallen for this routine. [/quote]

Send me ten dollars and I'll let you in on it :)
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Dec 15, 2015 09:55PM)
We discussed it previously: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=436746&forum=44
Message: Posted by: psychod (Dec 16, 2015 04:59PM)
Hey, you guys got nothing on the e-mail invoice I got at work:

Dear Customer,

We regret to inform you that due to your unpaid debt amount of $745.47 to Sandor Inc., from November 31, 2015 we have passed your case to the court.

Your prompt attention is required to resolve this issue.

Attached you can find your invoice and case information to review.

Not only did I not click on the attachment, I'm still wondering how they created a new day in November!
Message: Posted by: The Mysterious One (Dec 17, 2015 02:59PM)
Wow. That is as bad as those emails I het saying that I have inherited $1 million dollars from some distant relative that recently passed away in a foreign country. I can get the money if I pay $200 via Western Union to pay for the legal transfer cost.The old Nigerian 419 scam will never die off unfortunately.