Fraud warning
email scams that target music teachers

Jennifer Visick said: Jan 10, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

This is a sticky thread (it will stay at the top of the list in the Suzuki Teacher’s forum, regardless of how recently anyone has posted to it).

There have been several recent posts warning about typical email scams aimed at music teachers. Since it’s a matter of financial importance to teachers who are still unaware of it, I’m going to copy the relevant messages into this thread. In the meanwhile, for those not interested in reading through the rest of the posts, here is some pretty good advice from http://www.musiclessonsonline.co.uk/:

It is sometimes difficult to spot a genuine student enquiry from a scam one especially if you are based in a town where there might be many foreign students.

There are patterns to scam emails and one emanating from an overseas source will contain many of the elements below.

  1. Poor English including poor spelling and punctuation
  2. Demands for a ridiculous teaching schedule: “one hour’s lesson every day for 4 weeks”
  3. Strange travel and accommodation conditions usually involving an overseas pupil
  4. The overseas pupil is almost always referred to as a beginner and age 14 or above
  5. Attempts to dictate terms to you rather than asking for YOUR terms
  6. No phone number
  7. Does not use your name anywhere: “hello” instead of “Dear Mr Bloggs”
  8. Discrepancies in their own name
  9. Does not refer to the actual specialism you advertise but a generalisation: “music lessons” instead of “piano lessons”
    1. Uses a hotmail, yahoo, mail or other disposable email account

The initial email is unlikely to mention financial arrangements in any detail but subsequent ones certainly will.

To make sure you don’t get scammed:

  1. Ignore emails containing most of the above elements
  2. If in doubt speak directly to the sender of the email
  3. Remember that scams always involve money
  4. If you are taking payment in advance you should do it in person
  5. Never take advance payment by cheque or wire transfer from someone you don’t know

There are new scams out all of the time.

I hope this is helpful.
-Jenny Visick-

Connie Sunday said: Jan 10, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Dear Music Teacher:

If you have a studio policy or other information online about your
teaching, associated with your email address, please be aware that
there are a lot of con artists online, internationally, who target
music teachers with emails.

I have a Teacher Directory and an online Studio Policy, and I receive
daily, one or two of these types of messages. Starting today, I am
archiving these messages on this page, along with their IP numbers:

http://beststudentviolins.com/FRAUDagainstMT.html

If you have received one of these emails and would like to add it to
the page, or if you have a story to tell about this, please WRITE ME
(click on the WRITE ME link on the page.) Send me any such messages,
with the IP addresses, and I will post them.

Instructions for getting the sender’s IP address are on the page. The
IP address tells the whole story, because usually the IP address is
completely different than the stated or implied information in the
email. Music Teachers need to stick together and fight these people.

Thanks!
Connie

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Karra said: Jan 11, 2007
 Cello
51 posts

Oh yes, I used to get those e mails a lot when I was advertising on the web. Fortunately I ‘ve never fallen for one- it’s usually very obvious that they are scam artists (really off-the-wall requests, and almost always extremely poor spelling and grammar). I hear they usually want to pay teachers a ridiculous amount over what’s requested in the form of a (counterfeit) cashier’s check and have them pay back the difference in cash. And when the bank finds out that the cashier’s check was bad, the scammer is long gone and the poor person who fell for the scam gets stuck paying for the whole darn thing.

“It may very well be music that will one day save the world”— Pablo Casals

Joan said: May 9, 2007
 Violin
24 posts

I’m wondering if anyone else has gotten any suspicious emails similar to what I received this past week.

Just a couple of weeks ago I posted my studio on the Teacher Location Database at the SAA site. The email I received shortly afterwards was from a yahoo.uk email address and was from someone who claimed to be a parent wanting lessons for her daughter who is going to be on holiday in my area for the summer, and wanted to learn the “fundamentals of violin in 4 weeks”!

Of course I replied explaining that this was not possible, but that I would consider teaching her if she was willing to study for the whole summer, and depending on her age.

The reply from the “parent” was that the daughter was 18, and had developed a love of music after her father, a journalist in Iraq, had been killed. The thing that set off a red light was that she wanted all of my contact info so that her “PA” could immediately send a money order or cashier’s check for 4 one-hour lessons per week, for the entire 12 weeks. This was all written in very poor English, though the “parent”’s name was of a very British origin. “Urgent” was also written several times in the email.

My husband pointed out to me that the nature of many email scams (from Nigeria, etc.) is that the sender mails a cashier’s check for over the amount promised, asks you to send back the change, and somehow you end up without the original amount promised. This particular email certainly had the same vibe as some of the scam emails I’ve received.

Has anyone else gotten any emails like this specifically asking about lessons?

There’s always the possibility that this request was perfectly legit, but I politely declined the opportunity and left it at that!

Be careful out there- it’s hard to believe that people would want to scam music teachers, but I suppose anything is possible!

Rachel Schott said: May 9, 2007
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

YES. I received exactly the same email….I hadn’t answered yet, partly because it seemed unrealistic that someone would be ‘vacationing’ in our remote area.

Thanks for the heads up. I never would have thought to post here, but I appreciate that you did.

Joan said: May 9, 2007
 Violin
24 posts

Wow. I guess my husband was right when he said to go with my instincts! Was it “Eileen Smith”?

Jennifer Visick said: May 10, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

If you’re going to post your information for people to find you as a teacher online, be prepared for several such emails. You’ll get to recognize their flavor so that you can nearly always tell it’s a scam from reading the first sentence or two (sometimes even just the subject line!).

Hallmarks of these scams include:

~broken english, even if an email seems to originate from a country where english is the native language.

~Someone wanting to take an insane amount of lessons: getting two lessons, or a single two hour lesson, every day for two or three or 8 weeks, or wanting to learn “the basics” in an insanely short amount of time, often purporting to be a parent asking on behalf of a child who will be in your area for some reason on a short term basis.

~inquiries as to your rates, with very little interest in your teaching philosophy, or only perfunctory questions about your credentials and no real interest in whether or not you are the right teacher for them

~a sense of urgency, as the prospective student will be coming soon, or the “parent” wants to get it all taken care of before hand, or something

~sometimes, an inquiry for you to rent/purchase/provide an instrument for the duration of the student’s stay, so they won’t have to waste time when they arrive

~ALWAYS: they eventually (after several emails) want to write you a huge check for the full amount, and OFTEN, they will “accidentally” write an extra 0 or something on their check to you, OR they will want to write you a check for MORE than the full amount of these lessons and instrument rental and etc. for whatever reason. Then they kindly ask if you would wire the “extra” money back to another bank account—minus whatever fees you have to pay for wiring it, of course…. But please do it QUICKLY, since they need the money and didn’t realize their mistake, etc., etc.—this is where the urgency really kicks in.

When you deposit their (bad) check, your bank will usually let you withdraw those funds from your account the same day or within a day or two. The check will take about two- four weeks to bounce (hence the sense of urgency in their emails); meanwhile you have already wired back to another bank account the “extra” money from the (bad) check. Now if you’re lucky, you have enough of your own money to cover what you wired; if not, your bank slaps you with a hefty penalty on top of whatever penalty they give you for trying to cash a bad check. You are out the money and the child/student never shows up, nor do you ever hear from these people again. The email address and/or return address they gave you no longer works, or no one ever responds. The money has been taken out of the account to which you wired it and is, essentially, irretrievable.

You vow never to do such a stupid thing again and you wisely decide never to do business with students until you have met them face to face, and never to return nor spend a stranger’s money until their check has had more than ample time to clear.

Someone has explained & posted examples about this fraud here: http://www.joewein.net/419/fraud-violin-teacher.htm

And tips for avoiding it here:

http://www.musiclessonsonline.co.uk/MusicTeacherScamChecklist.html

http://www.musiclessonsonline.co.uk/MusicLessonScam.html

And if you want a laugh…. check out one way of responding to these “inquiries”:

http://www.scamorama.com/music_teacher_lambert.html

Connie Sunday said: May 10, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I have a page on this also, and I can archive any messages teachers care to add:

Fraud Against Music Teachers
http://beststudentviolins.com/FRAUDagainstMT.html

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

said: May 11, 2007
 9 posts

I got the same email from Eileen Smith. I responded to the first email and then she emailed back saying that she wants my exact address and personal phone number. She kept insisting to pay for the entire summer tuition, taking lessons for 4 hours a week. Then I stopped responding to her. I knew it was a scam but I didn’t know why she wanted to send the check so fast. Thanks for sharing the scam stories. Now I know why she wanted to send the check. Now I am not sure about posting my full exact name on this website. Because with my name she can actually find out my address and many more personal informations many websites provide nowdays. I also teach at home so I usually set up a meeting outside of the home before the first lesson without a personal referral. Then I have them fill out a short application and check the ID. Does anybody have a better system without being offensive to the new families?

Connie Sunday said: May 11, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Yeah, I got a brand new one this morning, purporting to be from a pastor. I’ve started adding the new ones on page 2:

http://beststudentviolins.com/FRAUDagainstMT2.html

These people have a lot of nerve. Mostly they’re from Nigeria. There was a televised program about the run-down offices out of which these people work. They do this all day long and they are making billions of dollars.

I have heard that there was a young, US college kid, caught doing this, too (and imprisoned). So it’s not all Nigerians or accounts from Amsterdam.

Oprah had a show about romantic scams, which are even more heart-breaking. One poor woman was tricked by a phoney photograph (stolen off a modeling sight) and ended up sending the thief her life savings. There have been doctors (physicians), real ministers, etc., fooled by these scams.

Please free free to send the Fraud URL back to any such messages you receive. I always respond with the following:

http://beststudentviolins.com/FRAUDagainstMT2.html
..and I’m reporting this to the FBI and the local police.

—-of course, this is a joke. Neither of those agencies can touch these people.

Scary, isn’t it?

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Cathyanne said: May 15, 2007
Cathyanne Nonini
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
3 posts

I also received that email. When I asked that she identify herself and why she was not attending, I received no response. I wondered what was up so I sent it to our Idaho Attorney General. Now I know it was a scam—I will post any response from the AG.

said: May 17, 2007
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Guitar, Flute, Cello, Viola
120 posts

I also received the email from Eileen Smith. I knew it was a scam, and I wanted to write the SAA right away, but I wasn’t sure if it had generated from there. I’m glad someone else decided to post a warning.

Connie Sunday said: Jun 14, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Morning:

A few weeks ago, because of my “Fraud Against Music Teacher Page” at http://beststudentviolins.com/FRAUDagainstMT.html a reader contacted me, someone who had been defrauded through one of these schemes, asking who he should report to. I didn’t know then, but now I do.

Incidents of this kind may be reported ot the Internet Crime Complaint Center at:

http://www.ic3.gov/

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).

There is a “File a Complaint” link at the bottom of their page.

Connie

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Grace said: Jun 15, 2007
 Violin
110 posts

Thanks so much for posting this tip-off! I just received my first email of this sort a few days ago, but thanks to you I recognized the scam immediately. Otherwise, I probably would have replied! I just deleted it, but now I wish I reported it first.

Connie Sunday said: Jun 17, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I received this response privately from a member of Orchestrlist. Scarier and scarier:

These scams have effected the entire legitimate music industry in the US—not only are teachers affected but makers of instruments. Pipe Organ mfgs are getting bogus orders and have been left thousands of dollars in the hole. Those selling used instruments have also been victimized. A Moller studio pipe Organ was purchased by a scammer—after the seller had packed up the Organ and shipped it—the cashier’s check proved to be a worthless piece of paper. Of course the Bank went after the seller and the would be buyer got not only the organ but committed the perfect crime.

Any email from ANY African country—just delete it, especially if they are offering some sort of business deal.

Also avoid the same kinds of deals (look at the .com origin for instance: .it means the email came from Italy; .fr from France; .) from persons unknown. Either do no reply to them and put these emails into a fraud file to be turned over to the Secret Service or demand up front payment in US cash. Do not go meet these people anywhere. The FBI has told me that people have been murdered going to either pick up cash or meet the obligations that we contracted.

See:
Fraud Against Music Teachers
http://beststudentviolins.com/FRAUDagainstMT.html

I guess the point has been made (or I hope it has). Just don’t trust anybody.

Connie

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Joyce said: Aug 20, 2007
Joyce MizerViolin, Piano
Sarasota, FL
6 posts

Yes, exactly the same. Someone must have been bored. :D

Jennifer said: Dec 12, 2007
Jennifer Moberg
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Dehbori Kabul, Afghanistan
71 posts

I get at least 2-3 of these a month. At first I was a bit confused, as I had not read this thread, and as I am teaching in a foreign country, most enquiries I get indeed are full of bad English.
I’m really glad I read this, as I am loathe to ignore an enquiry or be rude to a potential family! Thanks for posting this!

“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.”

www.ViolinsAndChinrest.com

Joan said: Jan 25, 2008
 Violin
24 posts

You’re welcome! Thanks, Jenny, for moving this to such a prominent place so that everyone can be forewarned about this. I just realized that you had done this, as I haven’t checked in to the forum for awhile. Hard to believe that so many people are getting scammed. And that many of you fellow teachers got the same “Eileen Smith” email!

I’ve read some accounts of people baiting the scammers and having a lot of fun turning the tables on them. I wouldn’t recommend doing this yourself, but you can get some good stories if you google “scam baiting”. Good entertainment for anyone peeved about this whole email scam phenomenon.

Jennifer Visick said: Jan 30, 2008
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I laughed out loud at this particular instance of “scam baiting”:

http://www.scamorama.com/music_teacher_lambert.html

However, like slowbow I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this yourself.

-Jenny-

Jennifer Visick said: Apr 3, 2008
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts
Lynn said: Dec 2, 2008
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
173 posts

Access to the article is only available if you subscribe to Strings.

Jennifer Visick said: Dec 16, 2008
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Sorry about that—when I posted it, all you had to do to access it was create a username (for free) and login to their site. Oh well!

Ellen said: Jan 11, 2009
Ellen Levine
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Swampscott, MA
4 posts

I received a suspicious request today, in fact twice! which makes it even more suspicious.
The emails were identical, including the from, subject and reply-to lines, and the body of the email. However the “To” lines were different. One said To: [javascript protected email address]. The other, To: [javascript protected email address]
The From on both: [javascript protected email address]
Here is the text:

I am looking for a Suzuki Teacher that will teach my son in one of the Instruments below while in the USA:

violin
viola
cello
bass
piano
flute
recorder
harp
guitar
vioce
organ

Get back to me via email is you are interested, My email is: [javascript protected email address]

Austin.

Note also that the email on the From line and the email after “My email is” are different!

Would anyone fall for such a bizarre sounding request? Almost sounds like someone is pulling our leg!
Stay safe, everyone.
Ellen

Ellen Levine
director, Massachusetts Suzuki Festival
[javascript protected email address]
www.suzukima.org

Connie Sunday said: Jan 12, 2009
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

levinejp

Would anyone fall for such a bizarre sounding request? Almost sounds like someone is pulling our leg!

Yes; people do fall for these. A lot of teachers are hoping the offer is real, and actually write the person back and at least begin negotiations. I get lots of emails about this, and dozens of these a day.

Got three of these this morning (for example):

[size=85]Studio Contact
Monday, January 12, 2009 1:33 AM
From: “patricia.kirk91@yahoo.fr” <patricia.kirk91@yahoo.fr>
To: [javascript protected email address]

I’m Patricia Kirk from Paris,France.during my search for Violin teacher that would always take my Son (David) and I found your advert..Your advert looks great and it is very okay to me since you specialize in the area i am seeking for him.

My Son would be coming to U.S before end of this month and i need a reputable teacher that would be teaching him for 4 Months.He is just 17yr Old and also a beginner, i want you to help me teach lesson during him stay.

So, kindly let me know your charges cost per week’s ,in order for me to arrange for his payment before he travels down to your side.

I would also like to know if the their is any Text Book you will recommend for him as a beginner so that he will be reading privately at home after the lesson during his stay.

Please Advise back on;
(1). your charges per 1 hour twice a week for 4 Months?
(2).The Day and time you will be available to teach his During the week?
(3).Tuition address?

I will be looking forward to read from you soonest.
Best Regards,

Mrs.Kirk

This message sent courtesy of The Violin Site—http://www.theviolinsite.com[/size]

and

[size=85]

VIOLIN LESSONS
Monday, January 12, 2009 4:30 AM
From: This sender is DomainKeys verified
“PATIENCE PATRICK” <ppat2010@googlemail.com>
To: [javascript protected email address]

I’m Patience Patrick during my search for a Violin Lessons teacher that would always take my Son (JEFF) and I found your advert.Your advert looks great and it is very okay to me since you specialize in the area I am seeking for him.

My Son will be coming to the United States of America before the endding of next month february for 4 Months.He is just 16yr Old and also a beginner,I want you to help me teach him Violin Lessons during his stay in the United States of America.

So, kindly let me know your charges cost per week in order for me to arrange for his payment before he travels down to your country.I would also like to know if their is any Text Book you will recommend for him as a beginner so that he will be reading privately at home after the lesson during his stay.

Please Advise back on;

(1). your charges per 1 hour twice a week for 4 Months?

(2).The Day and time you will be available to teach her During the week?

(3).Tuition address?

I will be looking forward to read from you soonest.

Best Regards,

MRS PATIENCE PATRICK

[/size]

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Robyn said: Jan 13, 2009
Robyn BauerViolin
18 posts

Levinejp: I received the exact same email from [javascript protected email address] looking for a Suzuki teacher. The spelling and grammar were correct, but it’s definitely a scam!

Connie Sunday said: Jan 13, 2009
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Yeah, I just got two from theviolinsite. I almost thought one might be legitimate, so I wrote them back to get their real IP. It was from Africa.

[size=85]

Good day and how are you doing ?
I am currently looking for a music teacher that will teach my daughter.
please get back to me if you are interested.so we can go ahead from there.
Regards
[javascript protected email address]

and

I am looking for a music teacher for my son .I will like you to email me back with the price per hr for taking my son violin.
My email is [javascript protected email address]

This message sent courtesy of The Violin Site—http://www.theviolinsite.com

[/size]

“theviolinsite” is a good site; it has nothing to do with them. But a group of thieves is sitting in a computer room in Nigeria, targeting teachers listed on that page.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Ellen said: Jan 13, 2009
Ellen Levine
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Swampscott, MA
4 posts

I just got a 3rd one today but the sender’s name is changed, so how transparent is that?!
And the grammar is NOT all correct:
“Get back to me via email is you are interested”
perhaps just a typo
Anyway I requested that our chapter’s membership secretary send out an alert to all of our members, and I hope it’s ok that I pasted the top post from this thread from musiclessononline.
We are Suzuki:MA, formerly Suzuki Music Schools of Massachusetts.

Ellen

Ellen Levine
director, Massachusetts Suzuki Festival
[javascript protected email address]
www.suzukima.org

Karra said: Jan 15, 2009
 Cello
51 posts

Mshikibu,
I got that one too, and I almost replied to it. The greeting, though, is what made me think it was probably a scam. I mean, most people, even non native english speakers, don’t start their e mails that way, and they would at least mention what instrument they were looking for lessons on. These scams are SO wrong. It boggles my mind sometimes what people will do to get money. I wonder, how do they sleep at night??

“It may very well be music that will one day save the world”— Pablo Casals

Connie Sunday said: Jan 15, 2009
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

You mustn’t reply to these people. I saw a television program which filmed a room in a run down building in Nigeria with dozens of people sitting around, doing this. The level of poverty there is so extreme. I feel badly for them, but then I’ve never known that poverty.

It’s not always people in Nigeria, however. There was an American college student who was arrested for this. People have got to not answer these sorts of emails. There are instances of victims confronting or meeting with people that do this sort of things, and murders reported. And not stupid people; doctors and attorneys have been taken in.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Connie Sunday said: Jul 31, 2009
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Update on how to respond to these emails:
[size=150]
REPORTING FRAUD[/size]

Like a lot of people, I am very tired of receiving emails, attempting to defraud me via some obvious scam. However, please note that one should never answer those emails: many of those people are hardened criminals, and there have been some reports of people being killed from meeting such individuals, in person. Do not, in other words, attempt to take the law into your own hands, or catch these people on your own.

How to respond to scam emails:

  1. Get the Full Header. In Yahoo mail Classic, this link is at the bottom right of the email, under the row of buttons;

  2. Copy the header by dragging your mouse over it, and hitting Control/C;

  3. Hit Forward, and paste (Control/V) the header into the top of the email and then forward it to any of the following emails, as appropriate:

    * —for all scams: This is a service associated with http://www.ftc.gov/spam/
    * —PayPal scams
    * —CraigsList scams
    * You should also CC (”carbon copy”) the email service they use, e.g.: or or In other words, abuse @ __whatever the email service is, will be followed up by that service. They very frequently close the account, and may even check the IP number.

If you have a statcounter (I use the excellent one at http://www.statcounter.com/ which is free), you can get the IP number of the offending visitor to your studio policy or resume, and you can block that IP at your file manager.

PayPal is very good about following up on these, and they do close them down; after doing this about 1,000 times, I stopped receiving most of the PayPal scams. PayPal will send you a notice back, too, that they received your forward. The gov email doesn’t, but I’m sure they’re working on this.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Alanna said: Feb 18, 2010
Alanna Schugg
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Elk River, MN
1 posts

The name I received in a scam email is Daniela Bishop. I almost fell for it. It was “her” (who knows who this person really is…) urgency for money wired to England that sent up red flags. Thank you for this fraud warning.

This is what “she” wrote:

Greetings,

I am Mrs Daniela Bishop from Scotland. My daughter will be coming for
an holiday in USA for 6 weeks. I will want her to engage in something
that will keep her busy all the time, Because Kristina is a bit
playful and I will not want her to play away her time when she arrives
in the State. I guess coming to your place for private lessons can
keep her hooked up with something. It can be any kind of lesson. You
just get back to me with the cost for private lesson in your home for
6 weeks. I have someone that can drive her to your place for the
lesson and take her back to the home stay after the lesson. Just get
back to me with the total cost of the lesson so my husband can make
payment to you immediately before he go on a business trip and
Kristina is 15 years old, she a beginner and she fluent in English.

Reply me with the total cost for 18 days tutor (1 hr daily, 3 days in
a week at your convenient time)

Thanks
Mrs Daniela Bishop

Connie Sunday said: Feb 19, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Well, the part that tells you it’s a scam is not only phrases like “an holiday” but the fact that it’s so generic. Does the writer really even know where you live? That’s the most obvious hole in the logic.

I still get these; I wrote back (though I shouldn’t!) telling them that their emails all sound alike and why don’t they find something constructive to do with their lives, aside from being a liar and a thief?

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Jennifer Visick said: Feb 20, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

not only does the writer appear to not know which city you teach in, they don’t appear to know WHAT YOU TEACH, either!

Also, if this WERE a legitimate inquiry, would you really want to teach a teenage student who is on a 6 week vacation, whose parents aren’t with them and whose parents only seem concerned with keeping their child out of trouble? This does not sound like a recipe for successful music lessons, let alone Suzuki-style lessons that include parent involvement and support.

When I first started receiving this kind of email, I was occasionally in doubt about the origin, because I do have legitimate students whose native language is not English, and I wasn’t yet attuned to all the other little indicators of scams of this type—so I would respond with an email that included the following two points:

*-sorry, but due to the large number of email scams today, I do not offer this kind of short-term, intensive lesson. However there are many excellent summer camps which provide this kind of short-term intense study. I would suggest that you locate a local teacher to help your child learn the basics and then check out audition requirements for one of these summer camps if you are truly interested in having your child study music.

-If you ever do decide to permanently move to my area, I would be happy to schedule a time for you to observe one of my current students after you have settled in. If at that time you like what you see, then we can discuss my tuition & studio policies for long-term lessons.*

I never got any kind of response when I sent this, and have since learned to discriminate rather quickly between legitimate inquiries and the basic scam du jour.

Karra said: Oct 30, 2010
 Cello
51 posts

Got another one today. The english is better in this one than in most I’ve recieved before. Check it out:

My name is Dr.dwindlelane,i want to make an inquiry for my daughter who is coming for Cello Lessons .Her name is Safrina.She is 18 years old.she is an easy going person, you will know more about her as time goes on.I have decided to allow her to come for the lesson on a time schedule we can work on or any time that you choose that will suit her as well.I want you to calculate the cost of 1 to 2 hours each day from Mon,Wed & Fri for the whole of a Month and send me the total cost .so get back to me with your cost.I have contacted someone that will be driving her around town during her stay even to the lesson venue. Don’t hesitate to send me
any questions to my personal e-mail- [javascript protected email address] Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you soon.
dwindlelane.
=========================
[javascript protected email address]

What do you all think? Is this one almost believeable?? :D

“It may very well be music that will one day save the world”— Pablo Casals

Connie Sunday said: Oct 30, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

>> Is this one almost believ[e]able??

No, it is not. (only one “e” in believable) Does anyone take 2 hours a day, music lessons???

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Karra said: Oct 30, 2010
 Cello
51 posts

Does anyone take 2 hours a day, music lessons???

Exactly, hence the laughing smiley face.
My point was that the formula is changing. The english is better, they asked specifically for cello lessons, and it actually says something about the personality of the child. It may be that teachers aren’t falling for the e mails with the bad english that don’t even mention the teacher’s area of expertise, so the scammers are stepping up their game.

“It may very well be music that will one day save the world”— Pablo Casals

Connie Sunday said: Oct 30, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

You’re so right; they are constantly changing it, tweaking it. A lot of money is at stake. Criminals never give up; they just try to improve their methods.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

said: Nov 6, 2010
 2 posts

Hi, I’m a dance teacher and today I received this e mail. I thought it would be wise to search the name and see what I found.
Thanks to your page here, I have realized that this is a scam.
I thought I should let you know that the mail is also coming out to Dance Teachers.
[color=0000FF]Hello,
My name is Dr.dwindlelane,i want to make an inquiry for my daughter who is coming for dance school.Her name is Safrina.She is 18 years old.she is an easy going person, you will know more about her as time goes on.I have decided to allow her to come for the lesson on a time schedule we can work on or any time that you choose that will suit her as well.I want you to calculate the cost of 1 to 2 hours each day from Mon,Wed & Fri for the whole of a Month and send me the total cost .so get back to me with your cost.I have contacted someone that will be driving her around town during her stay even to the lesson venue. Don’t hesitate to send me
any questions to my personal e-mail- [javascript protected email address] Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you soon.
dwindlelane.
=========================
[javascript protected email address]
[/color]

said: Nov 6, 2010
 2 posts

I replied to the post, with more questions to see what the response would be. This is the response: ( questions are at the bottom) The e-mail for contact is the same: [javascript protected email address]

Hi thanks for the response,
let me first of all answer you question
1. where will she be staying?, i have rented an apartment for her also i have contacted someone that will be staying with her when she come.
2.How did i find out about your class right?, it was my friend of my that give your email to me,that you are a good dance teacher that is why i contacted you.
3.What does she want to lean?, i will like her to lean salsa dance, if it is still avaliable
4.What has she already know?, i will tall you that she is just a beginner so i will like you to take her as a fresher.
5.How long will she be taking class, i will like her to come for a month lessons if that will be okay for you, in 1hour session.
thanks i look forward to your response and the cost of it.

God bless

On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 10:22 AM, Michelle Mcdermott <expressionsdanceschool@yahoo.com> wrote:

Where will she be staying?
How did you find out about my classes?
What does she want to learn?
What has she already know?
How long will she be taking classes?

Hope this helps other users to keep a track of all of the address and names being used.
It may also be helpful in understanding fraud, as the answers are pretty much basic.
I replied to this by saying that I don’t accept students that tell LIES!!
As I have a very small school, and my parents tell me when they mention the school to anyone else.
Also, I do not teach SALSA! My school, is Ballet, tap and modern!!
Hope this is helpful to you!!

Connie Sunday said: Nov 7, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Yes, it’s going out to dance, instrumental, tennis, vocal—all kinds of teachers. I saw a program on the television, showing a ghetto area in Nigeria full of people sitting at computers, doing this. They spread a wide net.

I can’t say this enough: Do NOT write them back. That only confirms your email address and gives them your IP number. People have been killed, meeting these people in person. Murdered, okay? Understand? Don’t write them back.****

And it’s not just Nigeria, though it’s mostly Nigeria (it’s even called the “Nigerian scam”); an American college student was arrested for doing the same thing.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Connie Sunday said: Apr 30, 2011
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

My impression is that the vast majority of these are from Nigeria; so many of these kinds of scams are done by Nigerians, in Nigeria, that the scam is called “the Nigerian scam.” So it would be near impossible to sue them. To sue someone (I was also a law student once), you have to have someone with assets, first of all (and most of these people are impoverished) and then you have to prove damages.

Calling the cops won’t help either; local police are not going to have time to fool with emails of this sort.

Any response on your part will only serve to put your email address on the active list. You’re giving them information, in other words, which they will turn to their own ends, in whatever way they can. The very best thing you can do is to avoid any entanglement with these people, whatsoever. Some of them are violent criminals, so it’s best to ignore these efforts. Don’t respond, don’t write back, just delete.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

DeAnndra Glenn said: Dec 4, 2011
DeAnndra GlennViolin, Viola
Charleston, SC
2 posts

I got such an email. I was suspicious when the email wasn’t sent to my email address alone but to “undisclosed recipients.” The English was poorly written, and the man wanted to pay for three months of lessons with a cashiers check. Everything about this sent off red flags! I got this after posting an add to teach violin lessons on Craig’s list.

Lori Bolt said: Dec 5, 2011
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Thank you to all of you who have contributed info to this discussion. I also recieved two such emails after listing on Craigslist. I nearly fell for the first one….we teachers can be gullible in our sincere desire to help give the gift of music to a child. For some of us, the recession has shrunk our studios, and we feel glad for any inquiry about lessons—no matter how strange it sounds. I wish I had known where to report the scams, but fortunately, I didn’t get taken.

Do be careful, as these scammers are obviously becoming more legit sounding in their approach.

Lori Bolt

Patricia said: Jan 1, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Martinsville, NJ
58 posts

This is really important. I am glad the SAA will keep it at the top. If anyone gets this e-mail… they need to send it to:
http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.

In addition, be careful if you use cell phones for your schools too. I don’t keep full address books for any student on any electronic device. Someone hacked my system right after getting some fraudulent e-mails and stole alot of info. My cell phone was the line of attack.

Patricia said: Jan 3, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Martinsville, NJ
58 posts

I hope the SAA is monitoring the website. I don’t usually get spam ever—BUT—I do every time I post a comment here? I posted 3 months back—got SPAM, stopped posting—the SPAM stopped and within 24 hours of posting here—my mailbox is full of SPAM again?

Jennifer Visick said: Jan 7, 2012
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Patrizia, what do you mean by SPAM? You will automatically get emailed whenever anyone replies to a topic that you’ve posted in. You can stop the emails from specific topics by clicking “unsubscribe” in the emails that you get, or you can change the settings on the website by clicking on “settings” in the upper right hand menu when you are logged in and then scrolling down to “discussion settings”.

If you respond to an email, your post will go into that topic.

We do currently have an issue with vacation response emails—I’m going to PM our admin and see what can be done about it.

If you mean ordinary spam—ads and other such things—it is unlikely that people are getting your email address from here, unless you have posted the email address in your posts. You can also take your email address off of your profile page to see if that will help.

Patricia said: Jan 7, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Martinsville, NJ
58 posts

Thanks Raine. No I don’t consider anything from SAA to be spam. I mean advertisments from places I never have seen before and many, many scammy e-mails … I send them all to the gov. website now. But, I only seem to get them when I post here? I will do what you suggest and remove my e-mail from my profile.

Paula Bird said: Jan 8, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

I get these email scams frequently as a dog breeder. It’s pretty easy to tell that it’s a scam. Most of the emails have horrendous spelling and grammar or are written all in bold capital letters. I just delete them. Hiding my email address from the rest of the world doesn’t seem like a really good solution. There will always be scammers out in the world or people who perpetrate frauds.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Paula Bird said: Jan 8, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

I just got one of those scam emails today and it looked like it came from the SAA. It was so obviously ridiculous that I immediately deleted it. Someone may be targeting SAA members, but they’re not going to get very far. We’re obviously much more educated than the scammers are.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Patricia said: Jan 8, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Martinsville, NJ
58 posts

I agree with Paula…. when we check off we only want people logged in to be able to see our e-mail or phone numbers…. that only includes teachers and parents who are members of SAA? right?

Connie Sunday said: Feb 18, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

To follow up on this a bit, because of my ads on craigslist I was getting mail bombed, nearly, with obvious scammers wanting me to “tutor” their child. I know that I have recommended that teachers do not respond back to these people (by my tracker, from Nigeria), but I took a chance and started responding back with the following text block:

Reported to:
[javascript protected email address]—for all scams: This is a service associated with http://www.ftc.gov/spam/

See also:
http://beststudentviolins.com/FRAUDagainstMT.html
Sent from Huawei Mobile

…the result has been that the Nigerian scammers visited my FRAUD page (2nd link), and there are no more of their annoying emails in my box since yesterday.

Just FYI,
Connie

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Connie Sunday said: Feb 18, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Here are a couple of examples of the ads I was receiving (see below). Please, do not fall for this stuff.

[javascript protected email address] wrote:
I need a tutor for my daughter and she is 15 yrds old

and

Anderson Philip wrote:

I came across your posting on CL that you are a tutor to contact. Kindly get back to me if you’re good and reliable to tutor my 13 year old daughter who is coming to the US for 2 months vacation. She is in her 8th grade. I need to know your charging rate per hour and you will be tutoring her twice in a week. you can send your resume or cover letter in your response. what are the basics of lessons that you will be teaching her ? You can start with a general assessment and build from there taking into consideration her Interest to determine where to begin.

I await to read your swift response.
Mr, Anderson

…note that these guys are sitting in some low rent office in a ghetto in Nigeria; they are trying to obtain bank information or pass bad checks. Please be careful out there, teachers. Be security conscious. Most people are fine; it’s the small percentage that are not, which are the problem.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Connie Sunday said: Feb 18, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

This is an oops;

To quote myself:


Most people are fine; it’s the small percentage that are not, which are the problem.


Is this the worst grammar ever, even for me? Should it be: small percentage which is not?? I’m not sure how to fix that awkward sentence. Help!!!

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Karen Zethmayr said: Feb 18, 2013
Karen ZethmayrViolin
15 posts

Thanks for keeping this safety issue at the top of the pile. CMSunday posted a comment/question about grammar, good segue into the post about grammar as a red flag in some scam letters. Some letters are in very fractured English, but some, like CMSunday’s example are in suspiciously stilted English. Watch out for those too, although I can think of personal honest and upstanding friends who speak stilted English. I got emails spawned by a rental ad I once posted, before I knew about the scam website she gave us. (Thanks for that too.) Back then I found that if I emailed a boilerplate I concocted with tons of questions asking for details about them, they gave up.

In return to CMSunday I offer the following: you can find a whole discussion on when to use/not use the collective plural at
wisegeek.com/what-is-a-collective-plural.htm
In line with that page, here’s a pair of examples of use it/don’t use it, with percentage as the trigger, this time more in line with the work we love:
1. A high *percentage of Amy’s finger drops -were (not “was”) not on the tapes when she started her week of blindfold target practice.
2. The percentage -was important to her, because she got to see how it (not “they”) improved over time.

Karen

Paula Bird said: Feb 18, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

Most people are fine; it’s the small percentage that are not, which are the problem..

Just add a few words to clarify and reorder the sentence and all will be well:

Most people are fine; the problem is the small percentage of people who are not fine.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Barbara Stafford said: Apr 15, 2013
Barbara Stafford
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Plano, TX
59 posts

I’m afraid I have just been targeted by a scammer. It was pretty convincing until this last letter arrived

Hello Barbara,

Thanks for your message. My cousin will get in touch with you for the final lessons arrangement immediately they are back from the UK. I will want you to handle Mary very well for me because she is all I have left ever since her mother’s death four years ago. Being a single parent, It’s not easy but I believe God is on my side.

With regards to the payment, It will be made upfront like I promised. Like I told you in my previous e-mail,am not currently in town but I have contacted a financier who has been supporting me ever since I lost my wife and has promised to make the payment on my behalf . I also want to let you know that the payment will be more than the cost for the three month lessons. So, as soon as you receive the check, I will like you to deduct the money that accrues to the cost of the lessons and you will assist me to send the rest balance to my cousin. This remaining balance is meant for Mary and my cousin’s flight expenses down to the USA, and also to buy the necessary materials needed for the lessons. I think,I should be able to trust you with this money?
I’ll like you to provide me with your full name to be written on the check,mailing address and your cell phone number.Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you again.

Regards,
John

Lori Bolt said: Apr 16, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Good thing you got suspicious, Barbara. I went about as far with a scammer the first time too. Recently, I got two emails—one for yoga lessons!! (which I don’t teach), the other for “lessons”. One was from Brown William (my first clue!), I think the next from John….but the wording was identical. I reported it to Google as that was the originating email account. There are instructions to be found on the internet re: reporting scams, so I just followed those. I also replied to each that I had reported this email to the authorities….haven’t had one since, though I’m sure more will come at some point.

Lori Bolt

Barb said: Apr 24, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

I do all I can to keep my email address from being published. For instance, on the SAA listing, rather than an email address, I put my website address. There is a contact form on the website where people can reach me (if they can copy the capcha code). They only see my email address if I reply. Haven’t yet had a scammer.

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Alexandra said: May 2, 2013
Alexandra Jacques
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Mesa, AZ
35 posts

I got this one today, and I’ve gotten the exact same e-mail from two other addresses in the past few months. Three different people with a 13 year old daughter named Mary who is home-schooled, what a crazy coincidence! ;)

How are you doing today?I want a private lessons for my daughter,Mary.
Mary is a 13 year old girl, home schooled and she is ready to learn. I
would like the lessons to be in your home/studio.
Please I want to know your policy with regard to the
fees,cancellations, and make-up lessons. Also,get back to me with the
total fees for three months worth of lessons(one-hour lesson in a
week)starting from May 15. Looking forward to hearing from you.

My best regards,

William

To be honest, the first time I got this e-mail, it almost seemed convincing, but I didn’t reply because of the bad grammar. This might sound bad, but I’m usually not too inclined to respond to inquiries about lessons if the spelling or grammar isn’t good. I’d rather work with a parent who is a little more professional in sending e-mails. :)

Nora Friedman said: May 3, 2013
Nora Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools
Brooklyn, NY
34 posts

I got two of them as well. I actually wrote back saying I was “sending the email to the authorities”, which of course I did not. Hoping that might stop it.

Virginia Lamboley said: May 3, 2013
Virginia Lamboley
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Clearwater, FL
11 posts

I have gotten this same email several times, and the daughter’s name is always Mary. SO it MUST be a scam, since I doubt this same letter would be sent to so many teachers in so many cities! I don’t know what the aim is, exactly. Some teachers who have responded say that when the prospective parent replies about payment, they want some type of re-imbursement of partial funds or something (I can’t remember the details) which would give them access to your bank info to make some sort of transfer!
I have never answered one, and never will…

Virginia Lamboley
String Things Suzuki

Lori Bolt said: May 4, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

I got it too—word for word the same. The scam involves transferring $$….the “parent” sends the teacher a fake check to cover the lessons (the reason for months of lessons or multiples in a week) and sometimes something else (once it was a taxi). The check is for more than the fees due (since didn’t know how much the “taxi” would cost) and the teacher is told to keep what is due, send the over payment back (or to a third party). That’s where the teacher’s loss of funds comes.
Your bank wants the fake check covered by you plus you’ve send personal funds to the scammer.

Unfortunately, there must be enough teachers of various kinds of lessons who are falling for it or these guys would stop and try another tactic.

Lori Bolt

Katherine Fritz said: May 6, 2013
Katherine Fritz
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Louisville, CO
2 posts

I got that email last week and almost fell into the trap. Phew…close call. It is good to let others know what you are discovering. The con artists are only going to get smarter.

Amy said: May 7, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
50 posts

I got an inquiry that sort of feels like a scam, and I’m wondering if anyone else has seen it:

Hello! My names Morigan and I am very interested in taking violin lessons. My parents were wondering what the prices were for each lesson and what days of the week, as well as the hours.
~Please Respond!

Barb said: May 7, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Amy, I don’t know—that might be legit. If I got that message, I would probably ask for the parents’ phone number. Maybe Morigan is very interested, and wants a little more info to present to her parents. Or maybe the parents are wanting this to be her pursuit and so asked her to get further information. If she can give you a local number it’s probably legit.

Good idea to check here, though, to see if it’s something that has gone around to others.

The thing to watch for is when people are anxious to pay in advance from a distance, especially if they want to overpay for other expenses…

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Connie Sunday said: May 7, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Amy, I’m with Barb; it could be legitimate, and I would ask for the phone number. If it’s legit they’ll give it to you, but if not, forget it. If it were me, I’d also check the IP address. Do a full header and find the address, and then run it through:

http://whatismyipaddress.com/ip-lookup

This won’t, of course, give you the person’s name, but it will give you the ISP (service provider) and location. If it’s Nigeria, don’t respond back. But the grammatical structure is good enough for it to go either way, IMHO.

I get a lot of “looky-loos” whom I never hear from again once they find out that I treat the whole thing as a professional obligation, and/or they find out my fees (which are lower middle, to the tell the truth, for this location and my experience). But a lot of people expect the lessons to be $3., or something, which of course is just lack of experience on their parts.

Take care,
Connie

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Amy said: May 8, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
50 posts

Thanks for the tip about the ip locator. The email was sent from a couple thousand miles away in California. I’m choosing not to reply.

Christine Clougherty said: May 8, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
19 posts

My response when I get emails inquiring about lessons usually would weed out the scammers, and I am guessing many Suzuki teachers would respond in this way. I ask how they heard of me, let them know they can come observe lessons, a recital, and mention a bit about the philosophy, namely that parents are involved in lessons, etc. They usually don’t respond back. If they do, they may try to explain why they as a parent can’t come to meet me at all, or come to lessons, and that pretty much ends the conversation, since by then it is obvious it is a scam.

Susan said: May 9, 2013
 Violin, Viola
22 posts

I get these from time to time and do ask how they found my name and can they come to observe, but what I don’t understand what is the goal, what do they want?

Connie Sunday said: May 9, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

They want money, either an overage on a check or access to your bank account.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Alissa said: May 9, 2013
Alissa Rieb
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
61 posts

Eventually they want your bank account numbers to “wire you payment for
your valuable time and efforts with my daughter” or something to that
effect…

On Thu, May 9, 2013 at 2:05 PM, SAA Teachers’ Corner Discussion <
[javascript protected email address]> wrote:

Paula Bird said: May 10, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

What usually happens is that they will send you a certified check which is something that we used to treat as golden because it was drawn on the bank. However the way these scam things work, the check is really no good. But you are asked to provide extra money to the person because the check is usually written for more than the amount needed in order to cover incidentals. Your bank then asks you to make good on the check and you have also sent money to the scammer as well. Scammers do this routinely about many different things, from selling automobiles to selling puppies.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Susan said: May 10, 2013
 Violin, Viola
22 posts

Oh, thanks. I just never got that far to find out how the darn thing worked. Good
information to have.

Alexandra said: Jul 17, 2013
Alexandra Jacques
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Mesa, AZ
35 posts

Just got this one, it is now my favorite so far:

I’m Richard Michael, i came accross your advert as a Music Tutor. I mail to confirm if my 16yrs old daughter can join you in your tutor so that you can help me teach him. Kindly let me know where you are located with your area of specialisation and the price of your tutor per hour. Note that i will want the tutor to start on the 15 of August. Regards and hope to hear from you soon.
RICHARD MICHAEL

Seems legit. :)

Emily Olsen said: Jul 18, 2013
Emily Olsen Rust
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Bountiful, UT
1 posts

Haha. Alexandra, I got the exact same email yesterday. Word for word the same. I guess now I’m sure it’s a scam :) .

Emily Rust
emilyrustviolin.weebly.com

Shih-Hsun said: Jul 18, 2013
Shih-Hsun PanViolin, Viola
Lawrence, KS
1 posts

Alexandra,

I got exactly the same one yesterday.
His daughter is a “he”…interesting

Abby Parks said: Oct 11, 2013
 1 posts

I am so glad of this thread because I had received one of these emails this week after placing an ad on Craigslist. I was fooled at first because a month ago a man did get lessons three times a week for his grandkids that were staying with him from out of town. But I did get to talk to him on the phone and realized I actually knew him, and the arrangement worked out great. But in this case, I got a text, then found this email in my spam folder, but was a response to my ad so did not suspect at first. I am pasting the message below:

Hello,Thanks for getting back to me….My name is Megan Hall,We are new here in the city(means we just relocated here) and I want my childrens to be working with some stuffs upon my departure from home on business.I am out of cell phone service in Guam presently. The payment will be made out to you via certified bank, check So do calculate the cost of 2 hours/day for 3 days/week which the tutorial will be held for the whole Month once again and E-mail me.Your own convenient time and day for that 3 days you want my childrens to be coming in a week is needed so that the time will be scheduled with the hired driver that will always drive them down to your house or lesson venue..I will be very glad if tutor lesson wiill start asap. Kindly get back to me with your information below to be on the check…..Name:Full address:City:State:Postal Code:Home and Cell phone Number Thanks and hope to read from you soon.Best Regards.

I was suspicious at the broken English a bit but have dealt with customers that do not speak great English. I wrote and asked some questions about their ages, schedule, etc, and got the response to send my personal info with the amount, and no answer to my questions! So I wrote back again saying she had not really answered any of my questions, and that I would need more info, a contact number for the kid’s nanny or relative, otherwise, I did not feel comfortable. At that point I googled music lesson scams, and here I found lots of info. Thanks so much for your thread. I have been spared!

Connie Sunday said: Oct 11, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I just want everybody to be careful!!! Take this seriously. I get emails from my craigslist ads maybe 20 times a day, wanting me to “tutor” (nobody uses that term, so it’s pretty much a dead giveaway) their child “in your location” for so many hours per day…language is poor, grammar and logic is absent, and it’s obvious that it’s a scam.

Sometimes, yes, it’s not entirely clear; I got a physician from India, who is a doctor here in town, kids were here for the summer, and he wanted two lessons a week. This was a genuine offer, and it sounded like one of the scam emails, initially. But when he called me, locally, and I found his name listed as a physician, further inquiries revealed that his request was genuine, but I wasn’t sure at first.

I have an online store and sell a few instruments each month; sometimes the people who email me are really scary guys, like from Ghana (for example, today). I know they’re from Ghana because I have a service that monitors the ISPs of the hits I get, and this Ghana guy was working very hard to sound genuine, and he/she wanted to buy several thousand dollars worth of cases. It was fishy as could be, and could only end badly for me.

Most private teachers are about the dearest people in the world; helpful, kindly, and the opposite of worldly and suspicious. Be wise; know that there are criminals—even violent criminals—out there, for sure, and you have to make people prove they’re genuine. Don’t take any chances whatsoever for a few dollars if something tells you to be suspicious.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Connie Sunday said: Oct 12, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I’m redesigning my “Fraud Against Music Teachers” page this morning, as I’ve tacked things onto it so much, it’s messy.

I think, now, I’m just going to post all the scam emails I get, along with their addresses. If you have any particularly egregious ones you’d like to share, please let me know, I’ll add them, along with any comments you’d like to append.

Connie

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Connie Sunday said: Oct 14, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I got a burn phone and put that number on craigslist for my lessons and sales of some instruments I have. I got text messages on that phone from these scammers!! The phone numbers were US numbers, but that can easily be faked.

I think this scam is run like a factory: it’s not individual people. If you email them back, it’s always clear that the person who sent it does not read the reply. They have poorly written responses in a form letter that goes out, if you email them back. I’m sure, worldwide, they do make a little money doing this.

I may have mentioned, I had some very sinister guy try to get me to ship him several thousand dollars worth of cases. When I closed off the correspondence, he continues to write me as if I said nothing. I’m pretty sure this is somebody seeing what they can get away with. Same poor grammar and sentence structure as the fake lesson inquiries.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Jennifer Visick said: Oct 31, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I got one with a new twist today: instead of children being sent to ‘my area’ from somewhere overseas, someone who “knows that I am a piano teacher” from “a piano teaching job site” (I am not a piano teacher) wants to pay for me to fly to England and live there for a year to teach his two children. He’ll pay for all my living accommodations and pay me $6,000 a month for teaching two children.

Uh, yeah. As if there are no piano teachers in England?

Emily said: Dec 4, 2013
 59 posts

Wow! Thank you for posting this! I haven’t come across any of this yet, but I will be on the lookout. I have received other emails saying that so and so (a name on my Facebook page) is overseas and has lost their wallet and passport. Could I please sent $3000 to help so and so obtain a new passport and get a flight back to the United States. Ummmmm…I’m not gullible.

Emily Christensen
Music Teacher & Writer
www.musiceducationmadness.org

John G said: Jan 19, 2014
 1 posts

Just created an account to post here. I just received one of these scam emails, and I very nearly fell for it! The first two emails seemed convincing, but then the third email mentioned sending over £2700 for air fares that I was to deduct my fees from. I decided to stop replying at that point. I never charge for the first lesson, so we can work out if we want to work together or not, so a parent insisting on paying in advance for 8 lessons seemed fishy to me.

I can’t believe I actually went so far as to reply twice without thinking it was a scam—feel a bit stupid now, to be honest!

Anyway, thanks for all the great advice and info. I have forwarded the email with long headers to [javascript protected email address] and they just sent a confirmation reply.

I also got a strange text the other day from someone asking about lessons, and did I set homework etc? It was after 9pm on a Friday night, so I said call me on Monday to discuss—they replied, “No sorry I will be at work”, so I said, OK give me a ring tomorrow, to which they replied, “Working”. At that point I gave up, because it was either some weird scam, or the student was just going to be difficult from the outset, and I’m not interested in that!

Below is the entire message thread from the scam email: (A lot of these students seemed to be called Mary, don’t they?)

EMAIL No.1:

Hi there, How are you doing today? My name is Mr.Ramzil Touil and my wife and I are looking to hire a qualified tutor for our daughter coming over for a month holiday, her name is Mary and she is 18yrs old. What we want for her is to start from the beginning and some general brush-up in any areas she may have difficulties with. If you are available and willing to work with us, kindly get back to me with your rates and hopefully an arrangement can be made then. What city are you located in now? 

Regards,

Ramzil Touil

EMAIL no. 2:

Thanks for your email and I hope you are having a great day?I’m delighted to know you are available to tutor my daughter with her lessons, We live in the state, I’m into Real estate and construction work here,My daughter Mary will be relocating temporarily to my sister’s house, less than a week from this date and I’m hoping the lessons can be held privately at my sister’s home but if Mary has to meet with you then I guess it’s Ok still, My wife and I think your hourly rates are reasonable enough and we are hoping to work out an arrangement here. What we really want for her is to start from the beginning stage and in any areas she might have difficulties with,I would like the lessons to hold two times a week for 1hr each day of the lessons for a total duration of four weeks in all, how much would that total to? Thanks again for your email, do get back to me on this and we can proceed on arrangements then.

Regards,

Ramzil Touil

EMAIL no. 3:

OK, Sounds good,  thank you for your email once again and hope you are having a great day? I’m delighted to know we are in agreement here and I’m happy to know you are able to tutor Mary with her  lessons.  What we really want for Mary is to start from the beginning stage with her Lessons and in any areas she might have difficulties with. I Just spoke to my wife about your total rates and at this point, I’m most delighted to say we have a deal.

I want you to know that my wife and i had initially hired a private tutor for Mary and he was supposed to tutor her for six months which we already paid him upfront for but just before we concluded on lesson days and time, he lost his wife and decided to quit teaching and take proper care of his family but he has agreed to have my money sent to any alternative

teacher who’ll be handling Mary with her lessons. Now I could have had my sister receive the funds for me and pay you daily or weekly as the case may be but the thing is my sister at this time is 8 months heavy with her first child and i don’t think her husband will appreciate me giving her any extra activities if you know what i mean.

But what i could do, Is instruct to have the funds issued and sent out to your location but I’ll need you to have your costs for Mary’s lessons as agreed at (£240) deducted from the funds received which totals £2700 then have what’s left sent to Mary’s travel agent as the funds will be used in securing her flight tickets/BTA and travel documents as this is highly required upon her arrival at the American airport according to the American Immigration rules as applicable to an international student.

If this is OK , I’ll need you to provide me with your name as to be written on the payment(Cheque), your Address (where the payment will be sent to) and your phone number and I’ll instruct to have the payment issued and sent out to your location asap.

Do have a great week ahead and get back to me so i can make relevant arrangements. Also anytime or day of the week that suits you best for lessons works just fine with us as Mary’s schedule for now is fully open.  in two weeks from this date my daughter will arrive in my sister’s house, so two days after my daughter’s arrival you can meet her to get started. She’ll

bring all practicing tools needed for the lessons

Regards

Heather Figi said: Aug 26, 2014
Heather FigiViolin
Eugene, OR
97 posts

Thanks for warning. I have received these in the past and usually the writing gives many clues as warning for the reasons you have mentioned.

Melody Garber said: Jul 28, 2015
Melody Garber
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
2 posts

A text…

Hello Melody, How are you and how was your day be like,I saw your teaching ad’s on suzuki association and i will like to know if you can teach my daughter in your field 2 times in a week and 1 hour each day. Please get back to me with your charges per hour and your cell phone number, Have a nice Day and i hope to read from you soon.

I’m only posting because they specifically mentioned Suzuki. Also, they obviously already have my cell phone number.

Anyone else get a scam text?

Christine Clougherty said: Jul 30, 2015
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
19 posts

I have not received a text, but have received the emails like this one. The first time I got one, I replied, asking the student and parent to come observe. Got a reply about how that would be impossible, and I thought the whole thing was fishy, so I didn’t reply again. The Suzuki Method saved me there. Since we generally put time in up front to get to know the family and the situation, I hope it is harder for us to be caught in their scheme.

From what I have heard, they tell you they will send a sum of money to cover a few months of lessons or something, but ask you to remit part of that. You never get the money from them, and you have now sent your money to them.

Phoebe Joy said: Dec 7, 2015
Phoebe Joy WesleyPiano
Houston, TX
1 posts

This is still happening, fortunately I realized something was up, but only after having wasted time with emailing them. The current person was a “Ray Brown.” I will say there were very few if any spelling or grammatical errors, although there were other things that should have had me suspicious earlier—they were supposedly in “Australia” and son from “Britain”

Phoebe Joy Wesley

Stephanie Noble said: Dec 8, 2015
Stephanie Noble
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Spanaway, WA
5 posts

I love that you are moving forward with your dreams and plans! You will stay younger and healthier by playing and learning :) I am very proud of you. I am now 61.5 and my picture posted here was taken just a few months ago. We who do, stay younger and happier! Do it!! Think what Dr. Suzuki would say…

Stephanie Noble, MFA, EdAd

Ariane Alexander said: Dec 11, 2015
Ariane Alexander
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
London SE14 5PP, United Kingdom
4 posts

I got one of those e-mails and said “Oh yeah, it’ll be £1000 (I live in UK), and I deal in cash only. We can arrange to meet somewhere where you can pay the tuition in person”.

Funnily enough, I never heard back! :)

Richard Franklin said: Mar 11, 2016
Richard Franklin7 posts

I got that one too, and I almost replied to it. The greeting, though, is what made me think it was probably a scam. I mean, most people, even non native english speakers, don’t start their e mails that way, and they would at least mention what instrument they were looking for lessons on. These scams are SO wrong. It boggles my mind sometimes what people will do to get money. I wonder, how do they sleep at night??

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