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When you’ve been in the bodywork game for a wee bit and you’ve begun to make your presence known on the Internets (it’s a series of tubes, ya know?), sometimes interesting e-mails find their way into your in-box. I received one just this morning.
The typical massage scam consists of an oddly worded inquiry; a request for your services. At first, it may seem like an exciting opportunity to get some good business. We’ve all had a struggling practice at one point or another. Maybe it’s a real opportunity. I assure you, it’s not real.
First of Nine breaks down the anatomy of the massage scam.
Appointment Date Inquiry
It’s not addressed to you specifically. No big deal. Seems normal enough.
I hope this mail met you in good condition; I am Dr. Fredrick Brooke, the director of Staff welfare, Ancient Greek Theatre.
Warning number one: Note the odd use of capitalization… the director of Staff welfare. Plus, an organization name that is rather generic. Most businesses like to have a unique name, so they can be looked up with ease. Try googling “Ancient Greek Theatre” and you’ll get thousands upon thousands of hits unrelated to any type of business.
I will like to make inquiries and availability on your services for April 25th, 26th, 27th 2012.
Warning number two: “inquiries and availability on your services”. Well, who talks like that? Peculiar sentence structure is a hallmark of massage scams.
Warning number three: A request for services on multiple dates, sometimes as many as 7-10 days. That would be a lot of massage!
Some of my delegates would be coming for treatments on sessions. Kindly send me your treatment menu or your catalogue for them to choose which of your services is preferred.
Warning number four: More oddly worded requests. “coming for treatments on sessions”? Really? No one types like that!
Also I will like to know the number of person that can receive treatment per day and also to confirm your best time.
Warning number five: My massage website in Portland, Oregon, Transcending Touch, makes no implication that my business is anything more than a single person operation. Just more oddly worded requests for information.
Likewise, I want you to know my term of payment is via credit card to cover their treatment.
Warning number six: “my term of payment is via credit card”? No one making an actual request puts words together in this way. Awkward!
I will appreciate it if you can get back to me in time with substantial Information regarding my request by attaching or sending me the spa menu along with mode of payments.. Kindly confirm as per above
Warning number seven: “substantial Information”? More strangely out of place capitalizations of words. “spa menu”? Try asking that of a spa and not a single private practitioner. “Mode of payments”? More silly phrasing.
And, here’s their closing signature… Warnings number eight, nine, ten and eleven:
Director of Staff welfare (more odd capitalization)
Ancient Greek Theatre (generic business name)
40 Wyndham Crescent
(googling the out of country address finds a different business)
Email: email@example.com (googling the email finds a known spammer IP address.)
I created my first Portland, Oregon massage therapy and bodywork website, www.transcendingtouch.com back in 2004. I used to spend hours on search engine optimization (SEO) to get top ranking. I’ve had over 150,000 unique visitors through the years. With a highly visible massage website, I’ve seen variations on these phishing themes dozens of times. With a little knowledge, you can watch out for these types of phishing scams and avoid them.
So, what to do when you receive an e-mail scam like this. Don’t respond! Delete it… Or, better yet, forward the e-mail to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you gotten scammed? Share your story in a reply!
Stay safe, bodyworkers!
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