Photographer scams seem to only be getting more elaborate as time goes on with the advancement of technology and ease of online impersonation. With the rise of influencers came an influx of scam artists knowing exactly what buttons to push to help this targeted group of photographers gain exposure in an industry inundated with talent.
Around January of 2019 articles started to surface regarding a scam reaching out to photographers for a portrait shoot for popular lifestyle and fashion magazines. Earlier this morning, we received an email from Marie Claire Magazine addressed to our sister company, Lin and Jirsa Photography, requesting a similar type of shoot. You can see the initial email below here:
How To Determine If It’s A Scam
While this seems like a straightforward email with no seemingly noticeable red flags, the devil is in the details. A quick way to see whether these “opportunities” are legitimate is to search the email or phone number. We live in a day and age where a quick Google search can reveal the answers we may not see so easily because we are blinded by opportunity.
E-mail & Phone Lookup
Using a site called Unknown Phone we were able to track down that this was, in fact, a scam reported in Arizona just three weeks ago. Apparently, they are Nigerian scammers using poor Lauren’s email to swindle photographers and various other businesses. If you don’t see a number, you can always use this site to search whether or not websites or email addresses are legitimate.
Google Search Copy of E-Mail
When you do a quick Google search to test the legitimacy of the request, make sure to pay careful attention to the verbiage and words used. You can see in the screenshots from the original article reporting a similar scam in January that some words are different, but phrases remain the same.
These scammers don’t really request much personal information from the recipient minus their “full name/Business name,” but it has the potential of leading to trouble once payment and contracts get involved. Be on the lookout!