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Clown internet scam - an internet scam is now targeting clowns and other entertainers - collateral


I am the victim of an internet scam. It is very hard to write that sentence, but it's compulsory in order to warn my fellow clowns, magicians and other entertainers, and to foil them from being taken for $2,800. 00 like I was. Here is what happened to me, and how you can avoid it.

I run the clown-ministry. com web site, and I achieve as a clown at both bureau and secular events. Due to the popularity of the clown-ministry. com web site (do a exploration on Google . com for 'clown' and it's the 7th site listed, for example) I'm by a long shot found by citizens -- for both good and bad reasons. For instance, last year my wife Ellen and I educated fooling around for a week at the Seventh Day Adventists' inhabitant Camporee -- we're not Adventists, and don't know many ancestors who are, but we were found by them & hired primarily due to the popularity of the web site. We've been invited to act in clown at a alliance in Canada, performed at band picnics, etc. well out of our neck of the wood, and so on. Delight absorb that this isn't bragging; it's backdrop the stage for what happened in the scam.

We were contacted via e-mail by a big name as rumor has it from Cincinnati, Ohio, who sought to fly my wife & I to Cincinnati to achieve at a birthday party. Since we'd had analogous effects ensue in the past, that didn't set off any alarms in my head. In addition, I knew that there are entertainers such as Jennifer Lopez who will sing "Happy Birthday" at your party, for a fee of $50,000. 00; I'm no J Lo, and my singing is atrocious, but I accusation a lot less as well :)

I did an internet hunt on that anyone (I'm not using the name he gave, since there's a criminal investigation as well as FBI investigation going on -- no joke), and found a big shot by that name in Cincinnati, Ohio, a "regional celebrity" so to speak. So, it didn't seem skeptical that he would have the money to hire us as well as pay round trip air fare. It's now evident that it was only a big shot using that person's name to "hook" us.

At that point, my wife & I were still liable to think of this as a prank, but even so we replied to the email with a quotation for our services, respectfully and professionally. We were joking with each other that this had to be a prank; after all, why would a big cheese hire us when there are hundreds of clowns in the Cincinnati area? If not it was a big cheese with money to burn who required to buy "bragging rights," it made no sense. So we forgot about it, until the being replied back, hiring us.

We still well thought-out it a joke, until we customary a check in the mail, for $2,800. 00. MUCH more that we had quoted our military for! We brain wave that, maybe, the dissipation was to pay for round trip air fare and accommodations, but even so that was far too much. We e-mailed the character back, elucidation that we had customary $2,800. 00 via check. His comeback is what be supposed to have tipped us off to the scam.

He replied that, since he was out of the land on a affair trip, he had his own associate send the checks out for the party, and the junior had made a mistake, combining with our check one for $2,300. 00 for the photographer from the United Kingdom that he was brief in to photograph the party. Would we be so kind as to send him those funds via Western Union?

Like an idiot, I said "yes. " The check had been deposited and clear (I thought), and I didn't want to hold onto money that didn't be in the right place to me. So, I went to the local Western Union bureau and sent $2,300. 00 to an creature in the United Kingdom. This didn't set off any red flags (although it be supposed to have) since it seemed like the type of silly confuse I've seen associates do before. What happened next, though, set off every red flag in my head, and then some.

Days later, I customary a new email from the man apparently from Cincinnati. According to him, his protect had an difficult form of lung cancer, and considered necessary an direct operation. He sought me to send the lasting money to his mother's doctor of medicine in Nigeria and he would carry over the party later. When I heard the word 'Nigeria' I had icicles in a row up and down my spine. Nigeria is famous, in the internet world, for being home to the most creative scam of all time. You've expected acknowledged spam email about it. In a nutshell, it involves the widow of some minister or rich person, who is demanding to smuggle their immense affluence out of the kingdom beforehand it's detained by her dead husband's adversaries; in altercation for let them use your bank account, they will give you (various amounts of money, if not an adequate amount of to make you filthy rich, at least an adequate amount of to make you dingy). Of course, no money comes out, but these associates proceed to rob your bank bill of every penny.

So, when I heard that, fear clutched at my heart. Besides, why would a big name rich an adequate amount to hire me (and fly a photographer in from the UK) need my money? The fulfil is, he didn't; he was just difficult to bilk me of more money ahead of his ruse was exposed.

You see, when I at the outset deposited the $2,800. 00 check, it appeared to clear; it was then quite a few more days already he requested the $2,300 to his photographer, and almost a week (from the time I deposited the check) until I complied with that. 11 days after the check was firstly deposited, it came back 'funds denied. ' The bank then debited $2,800. 00 from my read-through bank account -- which didn't be full of that much, of course. So, I'm out $2,800. 00, the crook (or his assistant in the UK) customary $2,300. 00. What's the moral of the story?

The drive of this is two-fold: to warn my fellow clowns, and to point out the red flags that I be supposed to have seen, and what I ought to have done.

  • Bogus email address: there are many 'free' email sites available, where any person can set up a free email account. Spammers, and many others use these to hide behind. Never trust in a row appearance from a 'free' account.
  • Depositing the check: I must have deposited the check, and then waited 2 weeks to guarantee that it had cleared. I had seen associates advertising items on ebay. com who warn ancestors paying by individual check that they would not ship items until 2 weeks after the check was deposited, just to foil this problem. In my case, they used an internet ceremony (qchex. com) in its place of a individual check, but the same time cycle applies.
  • Sending money back: I be supposed to have accessible to send the money back to the creative character after 2 weeks, or shattered the check and asked them to re-send the accepted amount.
  • Nigeria!: need I say more? Carriage money to Nigeria is a Bad Idea.

    So, that's where it lies. I'm out $2,800. 00, and in jeopardy of bringing up the rear my house due to the procedures of this criminal. Jesus Christ commands His followers to "pray for those who despitefully use you" (Matthew 5:44). It's difficult, but I'm praying. Thank you for listening -- be sure to care for by hand and your loved ones.

    Tom Raymond, aka. Raynbow the magic clown, is a expert clown and underemployed mainframe geek, webmaster of http://www. clown-ministry. com/ the leading clown reserve site on the web. His individual site can be found at http://www. clown-ministry. com/raynbow/


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