We have personally encountered a check cashing scam here in the United States and have reports of a similar scam occurring in Canada as well.
When something sounds too easy or too good to be true – it is quite possible it IS! DO YOUR RESEARCH – not just on vendors but on clients as well.
We were asked to offer a proposal (via our website = first “hair- raising”). We looked into the company, their website appeared on the up and up, HOWEVER, there were no LinkedIn profiles for the company and no direct contact information for the company (second “hair-raising”).
The inquiry was sent via a Gmail account with no contact information and no title. When we finally tracked down a phone number it was straight to a Google voice mail system – NOW ALL OF THE HAIR IS STANDING STRAIGHT UP!
We were awarded the opportunity; and were told we would be provided the entire budget of $80,000 upfront to disperse in installments to vendors (event industry language was used correctly). We were to take an initial deposit of $6K for our services – WITHOUT ONE SINGLE CONVERSATION. Now, I know we are good, but come on, WHO DOES THAT? Trusting my gut instincts – I sat on the request over the weekend.
We also emailed the point of contact requesting Skype or Google Hangout to meet and discuss terms. Not quite shockingly, I received no reply other than a second request (AND NOT SO NICELY) to comply with the request for bank deposit information. SHALL WE SAY “THANKS, BUT NO THANKS”!
Keep in mind that just because a company has a website DOES NOT LEGITIMIZE them. Call the phone numbers. Request to MEET EITHER IN PERSON OR VIRTUALLY FACE TO FACE.
Most importantly trust your gut. While we are certainly not novices in the event industry and in business we do hope that spreading word of these scams can help prevent someone not as experienced from being taken for a ride.