Has anyone had this happen before?

wab25

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I am trying to figure out what they want, it doesn't make any sense. This is now the second time it has happened to me.

I run a small school for Danzan Ryu. I will get an email from someone like "John Mike." (not the same name, but both times, the name was composed of two obvious first names) The email is a gmail address, with the users name in a reasonable configuration. In the first email, he introduces himself as Mr Mike and is interested in getting his kids into Martial Arts, and he would like to know more about my school. This all seems normal. I respond, that we study Danzan Ryu, we meet on Wednesday nights at 8pm, the cost is $40 per month and yearly membership in our organization. I also mention that we teach only an adult class, but will take teens, if they can work in an adult class.

Then, I get a response... my kids are 13, 15, 16, and 18. I want them to learn discipline, strength, flexibility and leadership. I will be arranging for a driver to bring them to your school and pick them up afterwards. Please tell me what the kids need to bring. You will give me an estimate for training the kids in 2 daily, private 1 hours classes and 3 evening group classes, for 2 months. After that I will evaluate their progress and if they make good progress I will pay you even more for further lessons.

At this point I know something is up. The first time, he kept emailing, demanding an estimate. Then he called me to inquire why I did not give him an estimate. I told him it would not be a good fit for his kids, and he kept insisting that it would be a great fit, and that he would make the payment by card, all in advance. I hung up on him after going circles for 10 minutes.

This second time, I responded to his first follow up "Do you have an estimate for me yet?" email. I reiterated that we charge $40 per month and meet only on Wednesday nights. I mentioned that he would need to accompany the kids, as they are under 18. He responded by saying my price was acceptable, he won't be coming with the kids as he is being prepped for surgery, this is a consolation gift to his kids, he will be arranging a driver to transport the kids, and he needs my full name and the full address of the school in order to send the driver. (my name is available on the web page for the school, as is the address and telephone number and email address...)

I get that he wants to get more and more personal information... but why all the story about kids and drivers and you must make a specialized schedule for my kids...? What are these guys looking for?
 

Danny T

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Yep. Get several a month.
It's a scam. They are working on getting info on you and then will say they want to send the money via to your C/C directly. All the peripheral is to get info on you and to make you feel they are serious and can afford your services.
 

skribs

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I'm not the school owner, so I pass all inquiries to him. I don't think I've answered a scam call before. A few telemarketers, but nothing like this.

I am on some phone list that's being sold as "Michelle". Now, I don't know how much you guys know about me, but I am definitely not named Michelle. So whenever someone calls asking for Michelle, I just ask why a grown man is trying to call my 12-year-old daughter and threaten to call the police. (I also don't have a daughter).
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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He's looking for personal information, and I would bet that his payment method is going to change when it comes down to it (if you continue talking with him). The end result of this scam is he gives you the credit card information by phone, it goes through. On the phone he asks you to give X amount to the driver, and has you upcharge (before you pay the driver) whatever X is. Then once you pay the driver, he goes ahead and either cancels the card or calls it in as fraud/stolen.

It's honestly a scam that's always seemed more effort than its worth, since they're really only getting a free lesson for their (possible) kids, and the money that a driver would earn, but people do it.
 

WaterGal

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He's looking for personal information, and I would bet that his payment method is going to change when it comes down to it (if you continue talking with him). The end result of this scam is he gives you the credit card information by phone, it goes through. On the phone he asks you to give X amount to the driver, and has you upcharge (before you pay the driver) whatever X is. Then once you pay the driver, he goes ahead and either cancels the card or calls it in as fraud/stolen.

It's honestly a scam that's always seemed more effort than its worth, since they're really only getting a free lesson for their (possible) kids, and the money that a driver would earn, but people do it.

Yep, this. I really don't know how it's worth it either, but I can't recall how much they want you to pay the "driver".

The last one of these we got, the guy claimed to be hospitalized with Covid and he offered to pay us $10,000 to teach his kids for a month. Like, first off, if you have Covid, keep your kids the heck home in quarantine. Secondly, who on earth would think that was a reasonable amount to pay for a month of martial arts classes. That's "Nigerian Prince" level of obvious scam.

Edit: I guess it's a low-effort scam, even if they don't make a ton of money. They just need to set up an email address and BCC every martial arts school within a reasonable driving distance. I wouldn't be surprised if they do the same thing for dance schools and other activities as well. If they get a few hits a year, it's probably a decent little criminal side hustle.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Yep, this. I really don't know how it's worth it either, but I can't recall how much they want you to pay the "driver".

The last one of these we got, the guy claimed to be hospitalized with Covid and he offered to pay us $10,000 to teach his kids for a month. Like, first off, if you have Covid, keep your kids the heck home in quarantine. Secondly, who on earth would think that was a reasonable amount to pay for a month of martial arts classes. That's "Nigerian Prince" level of obvious scam.

Edit: I guess it's a low-effort scam, even if they don't make a ton of money. They just need to set up an email address and BCC every martial arts school within a reasonable driving distance. I wouldn't be surprised if they do the same thing for dance schools and other activities as well. If they get a few hits a year, it's probably a decent little criminal side hustle.
It's low effort in terms of getting someone to drive there. But then you still have to drive (or have someone else drive), and get kids involved, all for the price of a driver. And presumably splitting it with the driver. At that point, why not just work for uber, actually drive someone somewhere, and not have to spend the time tricking someone, or split the pay?
 

WaterGal

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It's low effort in terms of getting someone to drive there. But then you still have to drive (or have someone else drive), and get kids involved, all for the price of a driver. And presumably splitting it with the driver. At that point, why not just work for uber, actually drive someone somewhere, and not have to spend the time tricking someone, or split the pay?

I've never engaged with these guys for more than a couple emails. But they seem to want to pay for months of classes up front, so I assume they want you to pay the "driver" for months of driving up front as well. If they can come by for one Saturday afternoon and make... whatever an Uber driver would make driving 2x/week each way for 6 months.... that's probably worth it. And I suppose I assumed that the "driver" is actually the person running the scam.
 
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wab25

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I never thought anyone would ever show up. I guess thats what was confusing me. I figured they were trying to get more information about me and some kind of account numbers... so that they could then hack that account. It would be more believable to to just ask about the regular rates, and how to set up a regular automated payment plan... rather than trying to dictate that you create a new special program for his kids. Our place has a number of active duty LEOs that either train or teach various arts at the dojo... and our security camera will catch the face of people coming up to the door. Seems like a lot of risk for these guys if they did intend to actually show up...
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I never thought anyone would ever show up. I guess thats what was confusing me. I figured they were trying to get more information about me and some kind of account numbers... so that they could then hack that account. It would be more believable to to just ask about the regular rates, and how to set up a regular automated payment plan... rather than trying to dictate that you create a new special program for his kids. Our place has a number of active duty LEOs that either train or teach various arts at the dojo... and our security camera will catch the face of people coming up to the door. Seems like a lot of risk for these guys if they did intend to actually show up...
The idea behind it is that they're trying to convince you they as customers are extra worth it, so you try not to offend them and are willing to shell our for their driver.
 

Balrog

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I am trying to figure out what they want, it doesn't make any sense. This is now the second time it has happened to me.

I run a small school for Danzan Ryu. I will get an email from someone like "John Mike." (not the same name, but both times, the name was composed of two obvious first names) The email is a gmail address, with the users name in a reasonable configuration. In the first email, he introduces himself as Mr Mike and is interested in getting his kids into Martial Arts, and he would like to know more about my school. This all seems normal. I respond, that we study Danzan Ryu, we meet on Wednesday nights at 8pm, the cost is $40 per month and yearly membership in our organization. I also mention that we teach only an adult class, but will take teens, if they can work in an adult class.

Then, I get a response... my kids are 13, 15, 16, and 18. I want them to learn discipline, strength, flexibility and leadership. I will be arranging for a driver to bring them to your school and pick them up afterwards. Please tell me what the kids need to bring. You will give me an estimate for training the kids in 2 daily, private 1 hours classes and 3 evening group classes, for 2 months. After that I will evaluate their progress and if they make good progress I will pay you even more for further lessons.
I used to get a couple of those scam letters a week. Me being somewhat of a jerk, I would respond to them.

I would work up an outrageous quote. Quote the four kids with no family discount at the highest program rate, Shureido uniforms, private lessons were $140 for a half hour, $250 for a full hour, you name it. I would then offer them a 5% discount if they prepaid the entire amount for six months training. The final number would be close to $20k. I would attach our registration form and liability release and send them the quote.

They would go totally ape thinking that they had a fish on the line and they were gonna score big. They would practically beg me to run the credit card. I simply told them that we could not move forward until I had received the registration form and liability release. They would beg and plead some more. Same response. This amused me greatly.

I think the longest I strung one out was about three weeks. When I finally dropped the hammer on them and let them know it was a scam, they would go ballistic. Again, cheap entertainment for me.
 

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