Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Beware: Common Scam on Makeup Artists...Who Accept Credit Cards

Various versions of Square technology
CC by National Museum of American History

I know that this scam is not specific to Makeup artists. In fact, the continuous attempts that have been made on me have nothing to do with the fact that I'm a makeup artist. They have everything to do with the fact that I accept credit cards.

I don't know what site they peruse to find their targets. Could be Yelp?
Basically, these scam artists want someone who accepts credit card and will always have the need to combine your services with the services of another vendor who "does not accept credit card" so that you can charge for both services (yours and the other vendor) on your credit card and take out cash to pay the other vendor. Of course, there is no other vendor. The person is setting you up to meet them for said service at a particular place and time with a particular (large) amount of cash on you.

Fortunately, I have not ever fallen for these scams but the thought of what happens if you do go through with one of these "opportunities" terrifies me. The fact that there are such terrible people out there that are willing to do this to a human being who they know nothing about is terribly disappointing.

There are some common practices that I have noticed within all of these attempted scams. I want to share them with all of you who accept credit cards for a service so that you can recognize these tell-tale signs and not fall victim to these horrible scams.
  1. The scam artist is NEVER able to talk to you on the phone. They can only communicate with you via text or email. I've heard different excuses as to why (i.e. they are mute, they are deaf, they just had surgery on their vocal cords--these are all reasons I was actually given. Yeah, its been tried on me a lot.)
  2. If via text: the phone number is never local. Its always an out of town area code. 
  3. Grammar is terrible. These people's first language is obviously not English. 
  4. They immediately ask if you accept credit card. They don't ask about pricing or any other details until after you confirm you accept credit card.
  5. They are never tiny budget projects (such as one person getting their makeup to go out). In my case, they've been things like...two daughters who require a couple of days of advanced private makeup lessons or a fashion show with about 25 models. 
  6. They contradict themselves if you communicate long enough. One person told me they couldn't talk because they had surgery on their vocal cords....later in the conversation they said they couldn't talk because they had just had lung surgery. Ummm what? Another person sent an email telling me that their fashion show was going to take place in downtown Jacksonville. When I asked for a specific address he gave me an address in Miami Beach. Idiot. Get it together, scammers!
  7. They always have another service that they are receiving at the same time (i.e. for the fashion show job it was a hair stylist; for the private makeup classes it was a driver for the two daughters) and that service provider does not accept credit card. They ask you to do the favor of charging the other service provider's fee to your credit card processing system and paying the other service provider with cash. 
At this point, hopefully you either bitch them out and tell them you know they are trying to scam you or you just stop communicating with them all together. 

I hope that this helps even just one person who is thinking of providing a service for someone displaying these signs. If this has happened to you, please go to the comments to share your story or any tell-tale signs that you may have noticed (if its been attempted on you more than once).

Unfortunately, some people out there can been terrible and completely careless about how their actions affect other human beings. So lets kill their attempts to do evil by spreading and sharing knowledge.