My Photography Business Was Targeted by a Fake Check Scam

What would you do for this check out? I’m photographer Dave Koch, and this is the story of how my authentic estate photography business enterprise was recently targeted by a pretend check out scammer.

I was just lately employed to shoot six qualities of varying sizes. It was my regular amount for MLS shoots, so while it is a huge job, it was very little I was likely to make a ton of dollars on. All very well and good… but let us go again to the beginning, in which all fantastic tales commence.

The Initial Shopper Request

My first get in touch with with Tony Montego was on April 1st, 2022…. And that should really have told me something ideal there. It was a brief and to-the-point e mail that only stated: “I need your Pictures company in Salt Lake City”. The e mail was from “WENDY’S Houses, LLC ”

Abrupt to be positive, but I have gotten other, related terse e-mail that have turned out to be very good positions. I replied the very same day with:

“Thanks for your electronic mail. What can we do for you?”

To which Tony replied with a a great deal extended electronic mail detailing his requirements.

Tony tells me he demands 6 houses shot, all in the Salt Lake Valley. He offers addresses and sq. footage totals for just about every — that will help a Good deal! He goes on to say he would like 30 to 40 photos of each spot, masking each inside and exterior. Best of all, his dates are open up, so I can choose and pick when to shoot. All he wishes is a estimate.

Well, this is good for me — I have a thing to fill in on slack days, and I have no hurry having them. This is not unconventional I have finished jobs like this for builders before… and I like performing them mainly because of the adaptability.

I get my quotation out, centered on his specified square footage estimates that evening. The future working day, he replies that he is going to want “before and after” visuals, so he is doubling my estimate, and he asks if that is ok. Then he asks me to produce an “invoice payment ask for via QuickBooks” for that total.

I do not use QuickBooks, so I reply that I can’t do this. He then asks for my identify and deal with to ship a test. I inform him I only require 50 % down as a deposit, but he insists on shelling out in total. Once more, strange, but not unheard of.

The Look at Arrives

The subsequent detail I know, a check out is shipped to my office for the full quantity. All over again, unconventional but not unheard of.

The envelope that arrived via USPS.
The contents of the envelope.

But then Tony emails me this not 10 minutes soon after the delivery: “The check out shipped to your front door, did you receive it?”

Now my spidey sense starts off tickling…. Was this male just observing super closely…? Or maybe he just acquired an email notification. No matter, I’m starting off to feel this is bizarre. But I answer sure, I have it in hand. Then I get this:

“Friday, may well be soon after the test clears, you can make a deposit through your cell lender application or ATM today”

And now I am confident it is a fraud. I never know how or why… But this ain’t appropriate.

Crimson Flags Everywhere

Now I seem at the examine, and I see that the Wendy’s symbol does not seem ideal. And it is printed in different ways than the relaxation of the examine. And the return address on the shipping and delivery label is not Dave Thomas Boulevard.

The Wendy’s emblem did not appear right…

I seem back again over issues, and I notice none of his emails have a signature bar, with “Senior VP of Acquisitions” or something like that… No signatures at all.

But the greatest purple flag was the Gmail tackle. Any person functioning for Wendy’s would undoubtedly use a electronic mail deal with, or one thing very identical. NOT a Gmail tackle!

I Google Wendy’s Homes, and there without a doubt is this kind of an entity. But Googling “Tony Montego” is substantially much more entertaining — I propose you do it. Another person has developed a Tony Montego Nigerian Scammer web site on LinkedIn, that’s a hoot. But there’s plenty of there to know this is a scam.

I would just like the community to know about this scam… and frauds in normal. If it is much too great to be accurate, it most likely is. Check out return electronic mail addresses. Question thoughts. Guard your self. And don’t have faith in Tony!

I have no doubt that Wendy’s has Practically nothing to do with this, so I mean no slight versus them, it is just a scammer who has selected them to operate his fraud with. But there is no question this is a rip-off.

Be harmless out there!

About the author: Dave Koch is a doing the job real estate and business photographer centered in Utah. With more than a decade of expertise in the field, Dave has been regarded by his peers with the Greatest of State award twice for his professional images. Ahead of stepping out on his have, Dave put in fifteen a long time as a qualified photojournalist throughout California, Arizona, and Utah. For enjoyable, Dave enjoys spending his absolutely free time exploring the size and breadth of his adopted residence condition of Utah with his wife and daughter. You guessed it: getting shots. You can uncover a lot more of his perform on his internet site, Fb, and Instagram.

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