Beware! There is an old phishing scam coming back. Once targeted at gyms and other service companies, they are now targeting private teachers and recording studios. The other day I received an email from an individual stating they were an agent looking to set up a recording session…
“Hello, I would like to know if you do music recording and how much you charge per hour for your sessions. I have three artists that will be needing your service. Also, do you accept credit cards as a form of payment?”
I responded that we do indeed record music and accept credit cards through PayPal. Then I left my contact number and received this text…
“Thanks for your swift response. I am hearing impaired and am scheduled for surgery soon. We can communicate via email or you can send your cell phone number and we can communicate via sms. I am booking this session on behalf of my artists. As an agent, I have three artists that do country music. I would like you to make vocal recording for three singers. Each singer will do two songs including mixing for a maximum of six hours. The singers have a private driver that will bring them on their sessions dates. Please get back to me with suitable sessions dates (preferably 6, 7, and 8 of july) and also the total cost for your service. Let me know the types of credit cards you accept. Please respond as soon as possible. I am slated for surgery soon.”
No red flags yet. I was a little confused if this person wanted to record 6 songs plus mixing in 6 hours and was like “yeah right” or each singer for six hours which was a little more than enough. So I sent a text asking those questions and giving rates and whatnot. There were a few grammatical errors in the text but everyone does that nowadays.
A few days pass and I was concerned that perhaps our rates or policies did not suit this agent and he found someone else. But later I received the almost identical initial email just with different dates from a different non local number. When he didn’t respond to my text questions and then texted me his original text again a few days later with a different non local phone number I started to get anxious. Why was this person not responding to my questions? He kept asking me for a total amount and where to make payment. Something just didn’t sit right at this point. I was about to rearrange my vacation schedule to accommodate this guy.
Then I received another email with a different request for piano lessons…
“Hello, My name is xxx I got your information online for Piano Lessons. I will like to know if you are available for Piano training for my Kids, Can you do this?”
Again, no red flags until after I responded to this person. Mrs. X responded with…
“Nice to read from you actually, i am only available via text or email due to my hearing problem okay, and I want to make an appointment for training of Piano for my young adults.I want you to get back to me with the total estimate for A full Semester training for 2 people 1(Female) aged(9)and 1(Male) aged (12) 1hr daily 1 time a week,kids are avail 4pm weekdays and weekend all hours the 2 kids none of them has experience the kids need to learn how to play full size keys,finger spacing,basic training knowledge ,so they can also practice on long acoustic piano, I want this to be a surprise for the kids and they will be coming with a private transportation for the full session.
“What is your full-name, your cell phone and studio address for the private transport driver i’m organizing to locate your place when they are coming.What are your schedule ? do you have flexibility? Can i make reservation with my credit card? Cause i won’t be coming in with the kids due to my current health status. I’m currently under intensive care in preparation for my surgery. I’m doing the booking since the whole surprise is my idea and i will be responsible for all payment.?”
Whoa!!! Another person with a hearing problem, about to go into surgery, uses a private driver to drop off clients, and only uses credit cards? RED FLAG!!!!
I immediately Googled scams regarding hearing impaired and found a slew of them from 2015 with gym memberships and other service companies. Apparently, the client uses a stolen credit card and charges more than the total service. The client then asks you to credit the driver or whoever the difference. When the owner of the credit card finds that there are these charges made on their stolen credit card they dispute it and get their full refund from you. You are out almost double and the “client” makes off with the extra money. They use the hearing impaired disability so they never have to speak with you or answer your questions directly and to elicit a little sympathy for their disability.
I also checked the phone numbers that the agent texted from through https://callername.com. These phone numbers were deemed unsafe.
I work with people with disabilities all the time, so I didn’t even think twice about anything suspicious going on. The only time I was suspicious of someone using a disability as a cover for a scam was when an individual wanted me to come to their house to teach lessons because they were in a wheelchair but their house was an hour away. They couldn’t find a teacher closer? As a young woman who does not teach remotely to begin with, I said sorry I just didn’t feel comfortable in that situation. I referred them to a gentleman teacher who I knew made house calls a little closer to this person.
Tell me if anyone else out there in the recording, performing, or teaching world has had similar or different scams to look out for? I’d like to hear your story.
For DTS Recording Studio,