On Your Side Alert: Crooks Target Photographers in New Scam

Published: Jul. 17, 2015 at 4:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2015 at 8:13 AM EDT
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If you love taking pictures and use it as a source to make extra money, be warned, crooks are focusing on freelance photographers. The BBB says scammers are posing as potential clients and fooling people into paying thousands of dollars.

Daryll Morgan loves taking pictures. "I got started my freshmen year of college. I always thought I had an eye for photography, I quickly realized that I didn't and I learned," he says. He now has his own website and taking pictures is not only a hobby, but a business, bringing in money. He's a bit of a perfectionist. "The perfect shot, I don't know if I have gotten one of those yet," he says.

While it's a fun pass time, Morgan knows crooks are always on the prowl. He says he wasn't surprised by an alert from the BBB, warning that criminals are targeting freelance photographers. "People have attempted to scam me before," he says.

The BBB says the schemes usually pop on line when freelancers are looking for work. The potential client, creates some story about why they can't meet in person and then sends you a check for more than the job. They then want you to transfer the difference to a supposed event planner. It's all a trick, the check is a fake.The fraudster hope you will send the extra money -- by the time the bank catches on it's too late -- and you will be responsible for repaying any money you use from that bogus check.

"Deal locally. If they want to talk to on the phone or meet and only want to email you or text, that is a pretty good sign that they are not legitimate," Morgan explains. He is part of a Richmond photography group and says most people he knows, are aware of the deception but he fears it's not a clear picture for everyone. "I think a lot of people that have fallen for the scams are new to photography and also older ones, who don't know about these new things and the scams going on," Morgan says.

The BBB also advises to watch out for bad grammar and if the transaction doesn't quite click with you, don't take the job. "Talk to a friend, ask them about it or ask someone who knows about I.T. who is familiar with scams and see what they think of the email, and if sounds the least bit suspicious,  just trash it, you don't want to risk it," Morgan explains.




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