A wedding photographer has found herself the victim of an “overpayment” scam which has seen her $4,600 out of pocket. The scheme is alleged to have cost people almost $5 million in 2019 alone, with wedding and event photographers being popular targets.
Based in British Columbia, wedding photographer Esther Moerman has now come forward to Global News with her story. The trick isn’t new, but it’s one that Moerman hadn’t heard of when she was approached by what appeared to be a legitimate client. Often referred to as an advanced-fee scam, it works when the fake client reaches out to the photographer with a business enquiry. In this case, Moerman was asked to photograph the client’s daughter’s wedding in Vancouver.
Moerman issues the contract as per usual, which requests a deposit of $700. However, the first red flag was that the check that arrived was for $5,500. When queried, the scammer usually tells you it’s an “accounting error,” then asking you to forward the money onwards to a third party. Moerman was told the money was for the caterer, thus she deposited the check. It appeared as “in the green” in her account, and so she forwarded the money on as requested by her “client.” However, the check later bounced, leaving Moerman accountable for the full bill of $5,500.
Her bank have since recovered $900 as a gesture of goodwill, but even so, that leaves her $4,600 down.
Police are warning anyone suspicious of checks to leave them “untouched” for seven business days after attempting to deposit it. Without due care, it can be a costly error.