BEWARE- scam artists scamming artists

By Marcela Murad



There’s a different type of scam artists for every industry, and they all suck. I have recently heard a lot of talk about people targetting facepainters directly. Although we may be tempted to think that we’re smart enough to avoid their underhanded scheming, everyday thousands of people are conned out of their money and countless lives are ruined. In order to help keep you from becoming another statistic, we’ve compiled this list of the most popular scams you should watch out for.


Booking Scam

The most popular amongst performers, especially facepainters, is the booking scam. This usually starts with a text from a number that can only receive texts back. The person asks if you are available on a certain date and most importantly, if you take credit cards. Using the excuse that the DJ does not accept credit cards, they ask if they can charge their card for his fee on behalf of him. Once you agree, the gig never happens, the credit card is reported stolen, the bank withdraws your money and you are out of luck. Most important, YOU (not them) can get in trouble with the law and charged with fraud adding a lot more cost to your defense.


Tax Scam

Recently, scammers have been calling people pretending to be the IRS- warning them that this was their final notice to report their taxes. The scammers might also threaten the listener to act quickly or they may face deportation. For an unsuspecting person, this threat could overwhelm any skepticism they might have had about the call. That fear leads straight to the impulsive action that the fraudster wanted.

The IRS has issued a warning regarding this situation:

If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don’t pay immediately, it’s a scam artist calling. The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how they do business.

The IRS will not use email, text messages, or any social media to get in touch with you. Please take a moment to listen to the following phone call so that you will know how to recognize this type of scam: m/2015/03/06/beware-listen-in-on-this-tax-scam-phone-call.html


900 Phone number scams

This scam has been around for a long time and continues to affect a lot of people. If you ever get an email or telephone call informing you that you have won some sort of lottery or sweepstakes and all you need to do is call a 1-900 toll number to claim the prize…don’t do it! Every second that you spend on the line listening to the extended pre-recorded message is just more money trickling out of your bank account and into theirs. The telephone company knows that it is a scam, but unfortunately they do not care. If there’s a charge for the call YOU will end up paying it, or risk having your service interrupted or credit score ruined.



I never knew what this meant until the fake emails started arriving in my inbox, from recognizable company names like my bank and credit card providers. Just remember, if you get an email from your bank asking you to verify your account details…ignore it! Legitimate companies will never ask you for this information via email. This is an attempt by a scammer to obtain usernames, passwords, or credit card numbers by masquerading as a legitimate source.


Fake Antivirus software

Accounting for about 15 percent of cuber spam, these programs trick people into downloading them by popping up a screen on the user’s computer saying they have a virus. Of course, there is also a link to a program that will “fix” the problem. And by fix we mean steal all of your identity information. If this happens, don’t click anything- even the X button- it could lead to more virus websites! Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and force quit out of your internet browser. Make sure nothing downloads on your computer, and if it does- delete it immediately!


Hotel room scams

You may have read the recent signs in hotel lobbies warning guests about scammers calling in the middle of the night. Usually they will impersonate the front desk and very apologetically ask for your credit card number because their computer crashed. Their hope is that because your are probably a bit sleepy you won’t realize that the number isn’t from the hotel.


Store Scam

Another clever scam is someone who approaches you with a great story about how they have store credit, in the form of a credit card, that they cannot use. They offer to sell it to you for half price because there’s nothing they need to buy and since because they do not have the original receipt, the store won’t give them back their cash. They are very convincing and invite you to go with them to the front of the store to verify that the card is valid. The cashier checks it and gives it an okay . You give them your money, and they do a quick switcheroo and give you a card with a zero balance. By the time you realize this, they are long gone!


Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft:

  • Never throw away ATM receipts, credit statements, credit cards, or bank statements in a readable form.
  • Never give your credit card number over the telephone unless you make the call.
  • Reconcile your bank accounts monthly, and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.
  • Keep a list of telephone numbers to call to report the loss or theft of your wallet, credit cards, etc.
  • Report unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit card company, and the police as soon as you detect them.
  • Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries and follow through until they are explained or removed.
  • If your identity has been stolen, ask the credit bureau to print a statement to that effect in your credit report.
  • If you know of anyone who receives mail from credit card companies or banks in the names of others, report it to local or federal law enforcement authorities.

If you suspect you are a victim of a scam, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it with someone you trust. You are not alone, and there are people who can help. Doing nothing could only make it worse.

As a safety measure you may consider paying a monthly fee to a service that monitors your credit and alerts you of anything suspicious. They are also a lot of help if you ever loose your wallet with your credit cards and other information. The one I use is Identity Guard– $14 a month is worth my peace of mind.

For more information about how to prevent or recover from identity theft, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission offer a wealth of information and will walk you through the steps.

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