Are You For Real?
Photo Credit: Kelly Lemon Photography
Analyzing Those Annoying and Suspicious Phone Calls and Emails
Ugh, it happened again today. On my Sunday morning with my family and my cell phone rang; (my office phone calls are transferred to my cell phone when I’m not in the office). The only people who call me on a Sunday morning are family. Without hesitation, I picked up the phone and didn’t bother to look to see who was calling. “This is JoAnn” I announced. On the other side of the call was a voice, trying their hardest to sound sweet, but sounding like an awkward girl. “Hi, I have a strange question” and the caller continued. “I’m looking at getting married in Colorado and I want to know two things. One, if you would plan my wedding and two, would you also be one of my bridesmaids?” Without letting me answer, the caller continued with the story that her friend had to drop out of her wedding. The caller needed a bridesmaid and picked me. But that’s not all, she also wanted to pay me for my services, buy me a five-thousand-dollar formal gown all in white with a long train and lots of beading, and wear four inch designer shoes. My suspicions began to climb off the charts. My gut was saying get off this call, but my curiosity got the best of me. “You want me to wear a formal gown to be a bridesmaid for you, and you want me to plan your wedding and run your wedding day, correct?” “Yes” was her response. This became laughable, but you know me, I’m always in for a good laugh. For a brief moment, I thought this was a radio prank call, or a friend playing a prank on me.
The call continued with more strange information, as she describe wanting to have my hair/make up done professionally so I would be flawless, and wear this gorgeous gown and shoes all paid for, besides paying for my service as a wedding planner, which by the way the caller doubled the original payment offer. No, I’m not kidding. Of course, I did what all good wedding planners do when interviewing potential clients, I’m googling the information as I’m asking it. “I need your full name for the paperwork and proposal”. I was provided with Renee Maerisse, “What is your significant other’s name?” The name was also provided. My fingers could not google fast enough. The Iowa phone number came up on “Reverse Call Look-up- White Pages” as not Spam or a suspicious threat, and was coming from a personal cell phone. But further websites including 800notes.com, provided experiences with others receiving a similar call with this person wanting to dress them up and hang out with them for an important function. Yuck! Weird just got weirder. The website offered his real name and added the charges he had been charged with previously. Yes, it was a he. Many others on the website described similar experiences. Needless to say, I did quickly get off the call and blocked the phone number.
Now, most of us have had those suspicious phone calls and especially emails, requesting we work with them, a brief description of what they want; a small wedding; we deal with all the details including venues, flowers, food and cake. Some will request we set up all the transportation including airline flights, and they will send you a check or provide a credit card number, and only allowing you a short time to put it all together. Yep, total scam. If this hasn’t happened to you, wait for it, it’s coming.
A few things you need to watch for and remember:
These Scam emails will typically have many mistakes in spelling and grammar and the mention of money before you get all the details. The theory is “if you aren’t smart enough and willing to fall for bad spelling and grammar, you are gullible enough to fall for the scam.”
They are almost always from out of town/traveling, without any phone access, so communication will be limited.
With these types of scams they want to send you a check for OVER the amount and then request that you send back the over payment amount, or the event has been cancelled and again requesting refunds of their funds, before the check cleared. And the bank account never had sufficient funds for any amount in the first place. You will be the biggest loser in this event, if you fall for their scam.
Phone calls with suspicious phone numbers. By now, we should all have some type of Spam-app on our phones. Ask your carrier for the best, or check out your cell phone app store.
Don’t ever give out any personal information to someone you don’t know over the phone or in an email. This includes your family information, your physical address, where you are at that moment, etc. I’ve had suspicious calls more interested in my personal life than in my work.
Google is your friend. Use it!
If it sounds too good to be true, hello, wake up and smell the coffee!
We are all smart professionals, and don’t need this type of headache in our life. Be the Pro you are and think about the call or email. Why does the call/email make you suspicious? Always be guarded with dealing with new clients and cold calls. If you plan to meet with someone for the first time and feel a little suspicious, you know to always meet in a public place first, like a coffee shop and don’t be afraid to bring someone with you. And always go with your gut!
By JoAnn Moore MWP, CWC, MGWP, CSS – JoAnn Moore Weddings
JoAnn, owner of Mountains and Meadows Weddings and Events is a Master Wedding Planner, as designated by the Association of Bridal Consultants. Planning weddings and events for over thirty years, JoAnn has worked with couples with the sweetest love stories, celebrities, politicians and professional athletes. JoAnn and her team specialize in destination weddings in the Rocky Mountain Region and most recently expanded to Northern Nevada/Lake Tahoe Region. JoAnn has created unforgettable weddings in some of the most remote and challenging locations including mountain tops, ranches, cabins, vineyards, private residences and acreage with no infrastructure. JoAnn Moore Weddings is recognized in the industry with many awards including the Knot’s Hall of Fame, repeatedly Weddings Wires Couples Choice award, Vail Resorts Iconic Wedding Planner for several years to name just a few.
May 14, 2018
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