A scam heads up. I have been contacted several times by individuals claiming to want to engage my services for various family events (reunions, anniversaries etc.). The "leads" have all come through Photographer Central - so far. They have arrived via both email and text messages and generally start out pretty vaguely. Here is the the most recent exchange: *** Hello Alex how are you doing? I am hector, I will be needing your service for our 20th Wedding Anniversary which is coming up on the 19th of August 2017. *** My reply (prepare to politely sidestep): Hello Hector - Congratulations on nearly 20 years of marriage. Please send an email with details of your planned celebration to [my email address] Please include location, time of day, number of people you are expecting, what types of photographs you desire and how you heard about me. Thanks for your interest in my services. *** His email response: hello thanks for getting back in touch with me, the event location is Harris Ranch inn. California, the time is from 1pm - 5pm, I got your contact from photographerscentral.com my wife is someone who like pictures for future purpose and good memories, kindly get back to me with the total cost estimate for your service, also to let you know that she also have her own favorite life band group that is coming to play at the event which i have arranged for. also do you accept credit cards as payment? Looking forward to hear from you soon Thanks. ***
Note: the sentence structure and choice of words; two questions were unanswered; his area code was 407 - Orlando Florida (unless it was spoofed) and; the event was to be in California. I anticipate that had I provided a price of some sort, even a ridiculously high one, he would have accepted it. I would have then been asked to cover some cost in advance ....like pay the band up front for him as the band would not accept credit cards (the last one asked me to pay the caterer). I would have been asked to send a check to the band and then add that amount to my bill. He/they would have received and cashed my check and, of course, there would be no photo shoot. I would be out the money I paid to the "band"....PLUS, HE/THEY WOULD HAVE MY CHECKING ACCOUNT AND ROUTING NUMBERS.
*** My response to his email (the polite sidestep): Hello Hector,
Thanks for the details.
Your wife would probably be pretty upset with you if you paid my travel expenses from the Eastern US to California for a four hour photo shoot. You should be able to find a photographer within a reasonable distance from the Harris Ranch Inn.
Best of luck and once again, congratulations on soon to be 20 years of marriage. ***
The reasons for the polite sidestep are: I do not know who I am dealing with - individual or organization; my personal information would be easy too find and; I don't want to invite trouble. Letting him/them know that I knew it was a scam attempt would accomplish nothing. As expected, there was no reply to my last email.