I’m a freelance event photographer, and a potential client contacted me through a freelancing website with a request to photograph a “surprise family reunion” for him. I quoted him a price, then he asked for my email and phone number (which I’d already given him) to talk further, so I sent it along. He texted me.
Client: What is your best quote?
Me: My best quote for 8 hours is $$$ (the same number I’d already given him)
Client: I am willing to offer you 100 less than that.
Me: The price I gave you was already heavily discounted, but, sure, I can do that price for 6 hours instead of 8.
Client: Ok! We are good to go. I hope you won’t disappoint me.
Me: Please email me more information about the event and I’ll send you a contract.
He sent me the event information, everything except the address, saying he wants family photos, prints, the works. Then he asksed for my “best quote” again. I repeat the number we had just agreed upon. He offers me $50 less than that.
Ok…sure, whatever. I’m just trying to get work right now so I agree.
Then he asked for my address to send me a deposit so he can “lock me in”. I never asked for this, but I gave him my address anyway.
A week later I received a check, in a priority mail envelope, for more than double the amount we agreed upon.
Me: I received your check, but it’s for much more than my fee. Are you pre-paying for prints or something?
Client: Some is for the coverage and $850 is for the DJ and the rest will be for the printing, hope you can help me transfer $850 to the DJ as well.
At this point, things were completely weird – but, while I didn’t know where this client was from, his English was spotty – maybe this was a cultural difference? Whatever, I thought – I’ll do what he asks. ,
Me: Ok, I can bring cash to the event to pay the DJ.
Client: The DJ needs initial deposit before the event.
Me: So you want me to pay the DJ their deposit before the event for you? Well, it’s not very conventional but if you send me the DJ’s information, sure, I’ll send it.
He texted me the DJ’s name and address. I’m in Michigan. The DJ is in Virginia. The check came from California. I google the DJ and find nothing. At this point, I was becoming more and more certain that this DJ and the event don’t actually exist. As well, the client’s communications became even LESS understandable.
Client: When is done, let me know so I will be in touch with him. Thanks.
Me: I need his phone or email so I can talk to him before I send it.
Client: I too be the one to do that ok.
Me: …Why exactly am I sending this DJ a deposit instead of you?
I never get an answer to that question, but I do get an email address for this DJ which I’m 90% sure is fake.
At this point, I looked at the cheque more clearly. It came with very strict instructions that I was to call a certain phone number before cashing it for “SECURITY PURPOSES.”
I destroyed the check, called the police, filed a report, told him to find another event photographer, and blocked his number.