It’s interesting that scammers are now targeting video production companies. Most scams are simple, and somewhat easy to spot. Some are not. Here’s a letter our production manager got today (this one’s a simple scam):
“We are XXXXXXX from XXXXXXX (redacted) looking for professional Video Production Company to Film Our incoming event which will take place on 12th of August in New York United States
Project: To produce a short behind the scene style event
highlight video of the 1 day event. To possibly include Vox Pop style
interviews with either delegates and or key speakers.
Details of the Project
1,A full day Crew for 8 hours with 1 Camera
2.full production inclusive of editing
4. Finished video going to be used for point of sale video, cable tv,
Waiting to read from you soon”
How this scam works is, the company will give you a ton of great detailed information, and even negotiate on price for the gig. Then, they’ll send you payment via fedex. Except the check will be for too much. They’ll ask you to just deposit it, and send the remainder back to them. At first, the check will clear. Then, a few days later, your bank will find out it’s a bad check and you’ll be liable for the money you “sent back” to this “client” who wrote you a bad check.
I had a photographer buddy who has had a few of these happen to him. Luckily, he’s never been suckered- and we have not, either- but tons of photographers and probably video companies have been, especially in this modern world where we work with clients from around the world on a regular basis, and communicate via Skype, email, and IM.
So how do you protect yourself? Basically, check out every potential client as best you can. If the scammer is any good, they’ll have a real company whose identity they’ve stolen. Emails can be spoofed, as can websites, etc. So, don’t just talk via email. Call them. See what’s what.
I know creative types like to think everyone’s nice and everyone’s honest. But it’s not true, at all. Sometimes injecting a little hard-nosed business sense into the mix is absolutely vital to your continued success.